20th Century, Americana, History, Uncategorized

Casey Jones on the Air

Roger Awsumb a.k.a. Casey Jones, lunchwithcasey.com

1954 to 1972

Lunch with Casey Jones (Roger Awsumb) becomes a noontime tradition for Twin Cities youngsters—and later for their children. 

Casey and his cast of regulars—including Joe the Cook, Roundhouse Rodney, Carmen the Nurse, and Clancy the Cop—will entertain kids with skits, songs, guests, and cartoons until 1972.” * 

Maybe the first thing you notice about Casey Jones is his big, resonant, but always friendly voice. Roger’s interests began with a love of radio. (Strike that, he was known to be an entertainer as a kid during the Depression making shows and programs with and for his neighborhood friends.) He began in “show business” as an announcer on WBOM at Macalester College of Saint Paul, Minnesota about 1948, and went on to become the station’s program director and manager. ** 

From there, he branched out into the exciting new world (then) of television: first at WCCO as a floor director, and then at WMIN in 1953 also as “floor man” and announcer. He got wind that the station was hunting for talent for kids programming. Hearkening back to childhood neighborhood shows, he pitched the idea for “Lunch with Casey”; inviting boys and girls to “join him for lunch, skits, songs and cartoons.” ***

Always one to include others, both on and off the air, some of Casey Jones TV friends were real life buddies of Awsumb’s. The first character of import to join the host, “Joe the Cook”, was played by Chris Wedes. Wedes also graduated from Macalester, and went on host his own shows: “Cartoon Carnival” and later J.P.Patches. This real life friendship and natural chemistry fueled the careers of both men. **** 

Similarly, the show would not be the same without the physical gags and antics of Lynn Dwyer a.k.a. “Roundhouse Rodney”. This manic and fun character, physically fit from years as a professional skater in the Ice Capades, often played the comic to Jones role as the “straight man”. Rodney would not back down from a challenge, and the breadth of his side character’s prooves it playing: Lippy Lois, Jimmy Durante, Grandma Lumpit, and comical spoofs of Superman and Tarzan. ***

To personalize the impact of “Lunch with Casey”, I rarely missed an opportunity to watch as a child. Sometimes, I would even be allowed to eat my lunch in front of the TV!? (in those days, this was a “privilege” and not a “right”.) I think I could feel the heart of Roger Awsumb to provide local Minnesota kids with an opportunity to learn something, laugh with someone, and sing-long with a kind grown-up who cared.

So, we turn to You, and remember the impact of this moment in Minnesota’s history. We start with acknowledging that You, first and foremost, model this heart of fathering and joy! You invite us each day into discovery and adventure, and look forward to meeting with us each day! You are a generous friend who gladly introduces us to others, and enlarges the circle of our relationships! Blessed are You, O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe!

Roger Awsumb was a reflection of this aspect of Your heart. Through his life, You molded into him the desire to be a loyal friend, connect with others, and bring joy to the world. We commend these moments to You; both the advent of kids television, and “Lunch with Casey Jones”.

We thank You that people like him envisioned using the new medium for the benefit of our young. We thank You that he had already caught Your wisdom that an ordinary day in an ordinary job can be an adventure if one looks for it! We thank You that Roger modeled friendship, both on and off the screen, and his genuine enthusiasm for others was contagious. We thank You for the years he actually worked shoveling coal in a rail yard as a teen. *** Somehow, he learned that hard work can be a lot of fun! 

Will You honor the way this man, and the pioneers at WCIM, (now KARE 11) extended right relationship to kids through TV? Will You bless their portrayal of the importance of meeting with kids daily, and somehow making that sack lunch into a feast? We ask that You bless the future of Children’s programming in Minnesota. We ask that You perpetuate in our actors, directors, storytellers, TV  networks the soul-deep revelations of Casey Jones: our children know what we believe by our daily habits, by sharing our lunch with them, by singing and laughing with them, and by showing them what friendship looks like! 

“As oil and fragrances give joy to the heart, so is he that is sweet to his neighbor in the counsel of his soul.” Proverbs 27:9 Aramaic Bible *****

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm 

The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** http://www.pavekmuseum.org/Awsumb.htm

*** http://lunchwithcasey.com/main/about-casey-jones/

**** https://jppatches.com

***** https://www.biblehub.com/proverbs/27-9.htm

****** Listen to one “I Love Onions”; one of the songs made famous through this show?

******* The “Happy Birthday Song” was a staple of this show. Listen and hear the fun! 

Roger Awsumb, lunchwithcasey.com
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20th Century, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

End of World War II

pf116045

V-J crowd celebrating in downtown Minneapolis, 1945**

May 8, 1945 to September 2, 1945
V-E Day (Victory in Europe) occurs on May 8, 1945, when the Germans sign the surrender outside Berlin. V-J Day (Victory over Japan) occurs on September 2, 1945, when the Japanese sign the surrender in Tokyo. The initial announcement of Japan’s surrender takes place on August 15, 1945 (August 14 in North America).

Records are sketchy, but somewhere, sometime during WWII, 326,000 Minnesotans served in uniform. One source lists 209,500 serving in the army and army air corps, 79,300 in the navy, 11,800 in the marines, and 3,500 in the coast guard. Of these, 5,843 died of combat wounds, 412 died in prison camps, and 54 were listed as missing.*

Victory Europe Day (VE Day) was a muted party for many because we were still at war with Japan. It must be difficult to cheer when your neighbor’s loved one(s) are still at sea, or storming the beach somewhere in the South Seas. Maybe the best way to describe the elation of this day, Victory Japan (VJ Day), is to just cite the Minneapolis Morning Tribune coverage of downtown at the exact time the news hit the streets the evening of August 14th. Enjoy!

“A few words from President Truman Tuesday night sent Minneapolis on an emotional “binge” in which all misery and waiting and expectation of four long years were suddenly changed in a few minutes into the joy of the war’s end.
The reaction to the President’s announcement came as tearful relief for some people on loop streets. For others it was wild yelling. For others the unexplainable, odd things that people do when they’re intensely happy.
At 6 p.m., Minneapolis streets were quiet. Then the announcement reached the streets in newspaper “extras”. On Fifth Street and Marquette Avenue, a half dozen women were talking-waiting. The news was brought to them by a Negro man about 50 years old, who came racing down the street aimlessly, tears streaming down his face, crying to everyone: “My God! My boys are coming home safe!”
Then the siren atop the Northwestern National bank building started to scream out the news-at 6:08p.m.-and the automobile horns took up the victorious chant, just a few at first because some drivers were afraid the news might be a false report.
Then the honking increased in intensity and wildness.” ***

M.17.D.3.B Packet 20

Up north, in Duluth, the response seems as intense, yet with a slightly different focus on total peace rather then total victory. Maybe this is a subtle splitting of hairs, but worth noting. How does one describe euphoria? Maybe this headline from the Duluth News- Tribune encapsulates it; “Duluth goes Wild with Joy at Peace”.

“Unrestrained joy, bordering almost on hysteria, gripped Duluth last night as thousands swarmed the downtown area to celebrate the return of peace.
Confetti, feathers, torn bits of newspaper and even popcorn rained down from the top floors of downtown office buildings when home-bound workers caught by the news watched the gathering mob.
But less than an hour after the first whistles blew, thousands of reverent Duluthians bowed their heads in their chosen places of worship.
Meanwhile, shouts and cheers mingled with tears of joy as a tumultuous throng shoved, elbowed, and embraced each other in a barely moving stream down Superior street.”****

G-d Most High, we remember with You these fantastic days of victory and peace in the lives of our state and nation. What do You remember when You think of it? What did we think of You in this moment of when You removed war from our peoples’ shoulders?

Granted, we had Allies against the forces of Axis nations, but even so, somehow You guided us to win a two-front war?!? Even though our soldiers and resources were split and traveling vast distances to the battles? Let’s recount, for a moment, why this is so astonishing.
2445 mi. Distance New York City to Los Angeles
3968 mi. Distance New York City to Berlin
6413 mi. Distance of travel to win Victory Europe

2445 mi. Distance New York City to Los Angeles
2486 mi. Distance Los Angeles to Hawaii
4028 mi. Distance Hawaii to Tokyo
8959 mi. Distance of travel to win Victory Japan

In toto, all our resources and human resources were spread across the earth a distance of 15,362 miles?!

Further, those at home were also doubly split: maintaining regular life, and supplying the food, war materiel for our Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Additionally, Americans supplied our Allied armies and their civilians’ needs with far less Americans in the work force?! How did You sustain them to do these monumental tasks and complete them in 1365 days; just three years, eight months, and twenty six days?!?

We recall, with You, the first incredible victory of the man and nation who was yet to become Your covenant partner(s); Abram. We remember that though he had only a force of 318 men, through You he routed four kingdoms?!? Next, he returned the slaves and plunder to its rightful owners, and took nothing for himself. Ultimately, he responded to victory in celebration, worship, and giving out of a heart of gratitude the share that other leaders would have usually kept for themselves.

“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,
‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And praise be to G-d Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.’
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” Genesis 14:18-20 NIV*****

In the culture of Abram, the lesser king pays tribute to the greater king; in words of acknowledgement, in deeds of service, and in treasure. So why did Abram give tribute to Mechizedek? Will You teach us from Your Unchanging Word, El Elyon, spoken through the author of Hebrews thousands of years later?
“…First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, ‘king of Salem’ means ‘king of peace,’” Hebrews 7:2b NIV******

But who is this King of Righteousness and Peace? We find the best clue in the words of
Psalmist which is talking about Jesus, the Coming Messiah.
“The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.’” Psalm 110:4 NIV*******
Author Chara Donahue gives us a theological reference about this, saying “The Matthew Henry Concise Commentary said this about the Psalm: “[Jesus] is the Priest of the order of Melchizedek, which was before that of Aaron, and on many accounts superior to it, and a more lively representation of Christ’s priesthood.”********

So we bring this back home to the summer of 1945 in Minnesota, Lord. Thank You for giving them this victory over the Enemy of all mankind! We are so proud and grateful for the way our generations’ past remembered You in their exceeding happiness! Help us absorb their tremendous gifts to the King of Justice and their future generations; many gave far more than a tenth of everything they owned! May we remain ever awed and humbled at their generosity!

Will You make us a people, like them, in Your Image? Will You give us such sacrificial love for: neighbor, state, nation, and Your world? Will You help us hear their lesson; peace is not just absence of war, but it’s in acknowledging, serving, and practicing the worthy presence of Jesus, the Eternal Messiah, of the Order of Melchizedek, the King of All that is Right, and the Lord of All Justice? Come Lord Jesus, Hope of the Nations, and make right the wrongs of our broken relationships with You and each other! Come Lord Jesus and be the Eternal Prince of Peace of Minnesota, and of every tribe and nation of the earth!

“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Isaiah 46:10 NIV

 

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** Photo credit
*** citing Author Unknown, “Minneapolis Goes Wild With VJ Joy”, Minneapolis Morning Tribune, Minneapolis, MN. Wednesday August 15, 1945. Pg. 1

Click to access mplsTribune19450815.pdf


**** citing Author Unknown, “Duluth Goes Wild with Joy at Peace”, Duluth News-Tribune, Duluth, MN. Wednesday August 15, 1945. pg.1http://www.mnhs.org/people/ mngg/web_assets/images/duluthNewsTribune19450815.pdf
***** https://biblehub.com/niv/genesis/14.htm
****** https://www.biblehub.com/hebrews/7-2.htm
******* https://biblehub.com/psalms/110-4.htm
******** https://www.ibelieve.com/faith/who-was-melchizedek-and-why-was-he-so-important.html
********* https://www.biblehub.com/isaiah/46-10.htm

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