Thursday, August 21, 2014

Masonic Radio Theatre?

Here it comes--Masonic Radio Theatre!  You know, the thing with working with creative people is that you just never know what they are going to come up with--and when those creative people are Freemasons, they can be incredibly industrious in doing so.

So Robert Johnson got a great idea.  His plan was to create an old-time radio show for Robert Johnson's Whence Came You podcast--it will even have old-time (but very real) radio ads featured on the show.  The first show was written by Midnight Freemason Bill Hosler, and the various parts will be played by Midnight Freemasons--including me!  And Robert even got Fraternal Ties to design the logo!

Of course, modern technology comes into play.  Unlike those radio shows performed in the studio decades ago, each of the players in this drama will record their parts individually, and those parts, along with sound effects, will be pieced together through the magic of Robert Johnson's studio.

So keep an eye out for it--it should be fun.  Who knows, it may very well become its own "thing" instead of just a feature on the WCY podcast.  We've certainly got a lot of talent on it.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Famous Freemason Trivia: Famous Freemasons And Guns

Here's another one oldie from the archives: I originally posted this back in 2008.  I was researching Audie Murphy for Famous American Freemasons: Volume II and realized there were a lot of stories that involved Freemasons and guns.  Here are a few: 

WWII Hero Audie Murphy
The Hero
Audie Murphy grew up in poverty, and even when he was a very young boy he often helped put food on the family table by hunting rabbits—with a slingshot. He rarely missed with the makeshift weapon. One day , a young man home from college, knowing the Murphy family was very poor, loaned Audie a .22 rifle to hunt rabbits with, and gave him eight rounds to use. Audie returned the rifle some hours later, but he only had four rabbits. Before the college boy could tease him about his accuracy, Audie handed him four unused rounds. When Audie grew older, it was said he could hit a darting rabbit from the window of a moving car with a .22. 
"God created man but Samuel Colt
made them equal."
The Equalizer
Samuel Colt got the idea for invention that made him famous while working as a young man on the sailing ship Corlo—he was watching the wheel of the ship when the idea of the rotating chamber came to him. “Regardless of which way the wheel was spun, each spoke always came in direct line with a clutch that could be set to hold it . . . the revolver was conceived!” Colt’s single-action six-chamber revolver revolutionized firearms. Colt’s style of manufacture was different as well—he wanted all the parts of his guns machined to precise tolerances so the parts were interchangeable instead of requiring each gun to be hand tooled by a gunsmith. That meant parts could be ordered by customers when they needed to be replaced, and the guns could be assembled in a very efficient method invented by Samuel Colt—the assembly line.

Sousa at the range
The Shotgun Maestro
Known as The March King John Philips Sousa is one of the most famous composers in American history—but he had a hobby. He was one of the best trapshooters in the United States. He won trophies and medals in many national competitions, and it wasn’t unusual for him to shoot more than 15,000 targets in a single season—with an average accuracy rate of between 75 and 98 percent during competitions. He was elected president of the American Amateur Trapshooters’ Association in 1916, and in 1917, became chairman of the National Association of Shotgun Owners.

1835 Jackson assasination attempt
Divine Intervention?
In 1835, Andrew Jackson became the first President that was subjected to an assassination attempt. As he was leaving a memorial service in the United States Capitol, and as he walked through the Rotunda surrounded by friends, a man stepped out the crowd, pulled a pistol, and shot him in the chest. Before anybody could react, the man pulled and fired a second pistol. Surprised, but uninjured, Andrew Jackson went after the assailant with his cane. The shooter was apprehended by a group that included United States Representative Davey Crockett. The priming caps on both pistols had fired, but failed to ignite the charge in the pistols. They were later re-primed with fresh caps, and both guns fired flawlessly. Nobody knows why they failed to go off—they were properly loaded. A few believed that Jackson was extraordinarily lucky—most believed it was Divine Intervention that saved Andrew Jackson’s life that day. A statue of Jackson still stands to this day in the Capitol Rotunda where that attempt occurred.


Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Farewell To Lauren Bacall: Bogie Must've Whistled

"You know how to whistle, don't you Steve?  
You just put your lips together and blow."

~Lauren Bacall
To Have and Have Not (1944)

Lauren Bacall, the last of the great movie actresses from Hollywood's Golden Age passed away this week at the age of 89.  A remarkable actress and forever linked with Hollywood Legend Humphrey Bogart since the day they met on the set of To Have and Have Not in 1944.  She would later become his fourth and last wife.

Most of my friends know I'm an old movie fanatic, and I just watched one of Bogie and Bacall's best a couple weeks ago--To Have and Have Not.  If you haven't seen it you should.  It's on TCM frequently, and it's one of those movies that just couldn't be much better.  I mean even the guy that played the band leader in the club was none other than Hoagy Carmichael.

The famous line in To Have and Have Not was Lauren's-- "If you need anything just whistle."  Bogart gave her a whistle after the filming of that movie with that line inscribed on it.  What a lot of people don't know is that when Humphrey Bogart died in 1957, Lauren Bacall had that whistle interred with his remains.  Perhaps Bogie got tired of waiting for her and finally used it.
Lauren Bacall (1924 - 2014)
And now they are together again.  Here's looking at you, kid.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Writing Inspiration Behind "Old Blue"

This 1960 Ford F-100 is very close to what Old Blue would look like--except
I always pictured Old Blue as a step side.
Now that my new novel Shot To Hell has been released, it's hard to believe I've finally finished the Twin Rivers series.  It's seems like Levi and Tori Garvey have been with me forever, but in truth, they didn't exist before 2009--the story has been with me for a long time, but the characters I finally created to tell that story haven't.

People often ask me where I got the ideas for the small town of Twin Rivers and the characters.  In truth they come from everywhere.  Old Blue for instance--Levi's 1960 F-100 pick-up.  I don't own one, and I never have.  The idea came from a gift my eldest daughter gave me for my 40th birthday.  She asked me what I wanted and I told her, "a new truck!"  I got one, but it wasn't what I expected.  She bought a little wooden model truck, put it together, and painted it blue.

It's the honest truth--this is Old Blue.  This was the original idea for Levi Garvey's iconic blue Ford pickup. 
The original Old Blue--a gag birthday gift from my daughter Jaclyn.
Everything else I know about those trucks came from a guy I met at a car show back in 2010.  He had a 1960 Ford F-100, and told me everything I ever needed to know about that particular model.  More than enough details to last me all three novels, including quite a bit I never used--like for instance, that Lee Iococca was in charge of the truck division at Ford when this particular truck was designed.  I never worked that piece of trivia in.
Oddly enough, that truck collector that spent so much time with me and educated me about old antique trucks was wearing a Panama hat--just in case you're wondering where Levi Garvey's hat came from.
So as you're reading the new novel, now you'll know where at least two of my ideas came from.  And be sure to read the first two--One Last Shot and A Shot After Midnight (in that order).  Both of those are available in paperback, and in both Nook and Kindle formats. 

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