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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19th Century, Civics, Democrat, Governors, History, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, Politics, Prayer, railroad, Republican, State Government

Austin Becomes Governor

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January 9, 1870 to January 7, 1874
“Horace Austin takes office as the state’s sixth governor.

A reputation for clearheaded objectivity and disdain for contentious party politics enhanced the appeal of Judge Horace Austin as a gubernatorial candidate in 1869. Minnesota’s sixth governor was determined to bring legislative power to bear against the railroad barons. His advocacy of strictly regulated passenger and freight rates and his opposition to the wholesale allocation of state lands to railroad development earned him a second term. But he was unable to resolve completely the problems inherent in controlling a booming transportation industry and curbing the excesses of its owners.” *

Lord, thanks that You are our shield! To my knowledge, our people have suffered much through the over-reaching hands of the railroad. (Especially the farmers!) Thank You for providing a governor that would stand up to these barons; even if partially successful.

Will You forgive the judgements between us all: Minnesotans’, the railroad barons’, the U. S. Government, and our state government? We know that You have told us in Leviticus 19:35,36 to use “honest scales and honest weights”. Because You have forgiven us our debts, we forgive the numerous injustices perpetuated by all railroads, their employees, their owners, financiers, and any other party unnamed that have been bound in this unforgiveness.

Will You return us to a right relationships from where they skewed off in Austin’s term? Will You restore the lands that have been cursed through the contention between Indian Nations, citizens, and the railroad companies? There’s enough freedom for all in Your kingdom; help us to receive and give honor and freedom to our neighbor today! Thank You that Governor Horace Austin looked for solutions between the Democrats and Republicans! May we have more Governors and leaders like him who see and think in the areas of our common humanity. Amen!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

 

 

 

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19th Century, Business, History, Minnesota, railroad, Transportation

Railroad Introduction

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“Minnesota’s first railroad line begins operation when the William Crooks travels ten miles from St. Paul to the village of St. Anthony (present-day Minneapolis). Within ten years the state is laced with railroad lines, opening up vast inland regions to farming and lumber.

To get here, the William Crooks rode on tracks to LaCrosse, Wisconsin then was shipped by steamboat to St. Paul. Until the railroads, steamboats and the rivers they ride are the most efficient way to move goods in and grain and logs out.” *

Thanks for the innovations that led to the railways in MInnesota! We have been blessed with excellent passenger and freight transportation here for about 150 years! I bless the changes the William Crooks brought to this generation by the authority of Jesus. May these rails continue to be a blessing to this state in perpetuity!

Good Dad, as I meditate today with You on the subject of trains, I feel a bit of melancholy. Like any good father, You relish the growth, achievements, and inventions of Your kids as they play. You “play trains” with us, and relish as we delight in building, connecting, and traveling.

While this snapshot of time, the coming of the William Crooks, was born peaceably, our methodology and timing in building many future rail lines left much to be desired. What would a dad say to a kid, who when playing with his siblings, demanded that they sign numerous deeds or legal contracts that gave him dominance of their shared playroom or basement? What would a dad say to a daughter who demanded that her brother be permanently removed from the premises because she needed more room for her elaborate train set?

Granted, the real-life complexities of building these lines in 1862 were much more severe than the basement scenario. How does one negotiate a deal between two parties that share little commonality in their definitions of property and ownership? How does one reach resolution when each parties’ land needs or transportation needs are so different?

Lord, forgive and heal Minnesota of every bad fruit and judgment that sprung from the dissonance of these deals. Will You forgive railway companies, their land agents, or any other parties in authority their sins against Native Americans stemming from the land granted them by the federal, state, or local government? We still bear their burden of having sinned against You when we take land or property from one, and give it to another without price! Will You forgive tribes, though often truly wronged, the maintenance of this offense into the present era? (May they receive justice, but be free from transference in their hearts.) How will You heal these broken hearts? Bind us up, Lord!

Hear my prayer, may all forms of coercive redistribution of wealth and property cease in the state of Minnesota! May your Holy Spirit so move on our state and people that we would give and share our land and property, our selves, and our time according to Your pleasure! In many ways, we have lost the joy of giving because our much of our charity is routed through faceless government institutions rather than through human relationships. Help us solve this problem too.

Holy Spirit, will You enable us to give the unlimited resources of heaven to our fellow man through prayer and fasting! May You fill internal chasms of heart that sometimes drive our reckless consumption and fuel our frenetic needs for doing, and cut us off from being. Change what we desire; what we want! In the words of David in Psalms 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”

*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!

 

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