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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 16, 1987

Well, we're nearly halfway through 2015, and I have to say that so far, it has been one hell of a year!  I can't wait to see what the next six months (and a bit) are going to bring me, but I have to say that when it comes down to it, 34 is looking like one of the greatest years yet!  Maybe it's not exactly how I planned it or saw it, but things are going to be great!

I won't go into much more detail than that...but I will say that sometime this summer, I'll likely be going on a brief hiatus from this blog.  Don't worry though.  It'll only be for a week or two.  I have to take care of  Yeah, that's it.  I will pre-warn you when I have to embark on my little adventure, and if I can figure out how to postdate entries, I'll try to do so.  I'll also provide you with a more detailed reason why the hiatus is needed.  For now, I remain hidden underneath my cloak of secrecy.

But it will definitely be weird taking a brief hiatus from this blog.  I have been working on it for four years straight.  I don't even know if the guy who started up the "Full House Reviewed" blog wrote for that long.  He certainly didn't write in it every day like I did.  But, it will all be worth it.

For now though, I will continue ahead with this blog until that day comes around.  And look!  It's time for another Tuesday Timeline entry!

And this week, I have a sweet entry for you.  Literally and figuratively.

But before we get on with that story, let's go on with the rest of the Tuesday Timeline fun, beginning with some of the historical happenings of June 16.

1745 - British troops take possession of Cape Breton Island

1779 - The Great Siege of Gibraltal begins as Spain declares war on Great Britain

1816 - A reading by Lord Byron of "Fantasmagoriana" inspires Mary Shelley to write her novel "Frankenstein" and John Polidori to write "The Vampyre".

1858 - In Springfield, Illinois, Abraham Lincoln delivers his "House Divided" speech

1883 - At least 183 children tragically lose their lives in the Victoria Hall Theatre panic in Sunderland, England

1884 - "Switchback Railway" - the world's first purpose-built roller-coaster - opens up in New York City's Coney Island Amusement Park

1890 - Comedic actor Stan Laurel (d. 1965) is born in Ulverston, Lancashire, England

1903 - The Ford Motor Company is incorporated

1911 - Future computer company IBM is founded in Endicott, New York

1944 - George Junius Stinney Jr., aged 14, becomes the youngest person to be executed in the United States during the twentieth century

1959 - James Brian Hellwig (d. 2014) - otherwise known as "The Ultimate Warrior" - is born

1963 - Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman to go into outer space

1967 - The Monterey Pop Festival begins

1971 - Rapper Tupac Shakur (d. 1996) is born in East Harlem, New York

1978 - The motion picture "Grease" starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John debuts in theatres

1981 - Canadian Ken Taylor becomes the first non-American to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for the role he played in the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979-1981 (in which he rescued six American citizens)

2010 - Bhutan becomes the first nation in the world to ban tobacco products

I want to also take the time out to wish the following famous faces a very happy birthday!  Birthday greetings go out to James Bolam, Jim Dine, Joyce Carol Oates, Billy "Crash" Craddock, Joan Van Ark, Gino Vannelli, Laurie Metcalf, Ian Buchanan, Arnold Vosloo, James "The Sandman" Fullington, Danny Burstein, James Patrick Stuart, Clifton Collins Jr., Phil Mickelson, John Cho, Amanda Byram, Eddie Cibrian, Missy Peregrym, Olivia Hack, Diana DeGarmo, Keshia Chante, Nathan Parsons, John Newman, and Joe McElderry.

So, now that we have all of that taken care of, it's time to take a look at what today's date is that we'll be looking at.

Ah, June 16, 1987.

That would be right around the time that I graduated from kindergarten, and the time that my mother enrolled me in the summer playground program that my town had in place.  Back in 1987, the cost was fifteen bucks.  By 1992, it was almost seventy-five.  Like, what the hell?  No wonder the program didn't last ten years.

Fortunately, the subject of today's Tuesday Timeline lasted longer than that.  In fact, this year, this product celebrates its twenty-eighth birthday.  And for some of you celebrating a birthday today, you might enjoy some of this stuff along with your birthday cake.

And to think that this product wouldn't have existed without a merger of sorts taking place.  A merger between an American rock band...and an ice cream company?

Trust me.  It'll all make sense the more you read.

First, let's talk a little bit about the band.  How many of you have heard of the band "The Grateful Dead"?  I would imagine that for those of you born in the 1990s or later, that name might not ring a bell.  In fact, for people my age, I don't know too many people who know who they are.

But for those of you who do, you know that they were a band that formed in Palo Alto, California in the mid-1960s, releasing a plethora of songs that blended several different sounds and genres of music together.  Seriously, you could hear bluegrass, rock, folk, country, pop, jazz, and even space rock in the entire Grateful Dead discography. 

Of course while several members of the band came and went over the band's three decades that it was most active, one could say that the face of the band was that of lead singer Jerry Garcia.  His unique vocals and his talent with a guitar were definitely noticed, and although the band never did have a number one hit, they were one of the most respected groups in rock history, earning a loyal group of fans who called themselves "Deadheads" and even ranking #57 in Rolling Stone Magazine's "Greatest Artists of All Time" list. 

In fact, one could say that 1987 was a banner year for the "Grateful Dead", for it was during that year that the group scored their very first (and only) Top 10 hit on the Billboard Charts!  Go on.  Have a listen.

ARTIST:  Grateful Dead
SONG:  Touch of Grey
ALBUM:  In The Dark

Could you believe that this was the very first (and as far as I am aware, only) music video the band ever made?  The song itself was first performed in 1982 as an encore song by the band, and was added onto the tracklist of "In The Dark" five years later.  Who knew that it would have such an impact on Top 40 radio?  And why not?  It was a great song!

The song also was a sort of a "comeback song" for Garcia, who almost died one year earlier.  He had been diagnosed with diabetes, and fell into a diabetic coma for several days in 1986.  But he did recover and changed his lifestyle for a time afterwards.

So, I suppose there's a little bit of irony in the fact that on June 16, 1987, Garcia gave permission for use of his name to a very popular ice cream company in regards to a certain flavour of ice cream.

Certainly everyone has had at least one pint of the deliciously expensive Ben & Jerry's ice cream.  The company (founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in May 1978) reinvented the way ice cream was presented by adding in a variety of rich ingredients that packed in the flavours (and calories and sugar).  With flavours such as "Caramel Hat Trick", "We Are Waffling", "Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough", and my own personal favourite, "Half Baked", Ben and Jerry's has thrived and they continue to come up with brand new flavour combinations each year.

TRIVIA:  The reason why Ben & Jerry's ice cream is so rich?  Ben Cohen has a condition called anosmia, which prevents him from having the sense of smell and reduced taste buds.  Making the ice cream rich in flavour was the only way that Cohen could sample it.

Anyway, back in 1987, Ben & Jerry had created a brand new flavour of ice cream that was quite sweet and fruity.  It was a cherry ice cream base that had chunks of real cherries mixed in with it.  Fudge flakes were also mixed in, to make people believe that they were eating chocolate covered cherry ice cream.  Both men believed in the flavour so much and they really wanted to give it a name that stood out.

The problem was that they needed Jerry Garcia to make it happen.

In order for Ben and Jerry to have the name they wanted, Jerry Garcia had to agree to let the company use his own name.  Luckily for the ice cream entrepreneurs, Garcia agreed to the terms and formally gave Ben and Jerry the clearance to use his name in any way they saw fit - on June 16, 1987.

And three days later, "Cherry Garcia" ice cream first hit store shelves.  To this day, it remains one of Ben & Jerry's most popular flavours.  I have to admit that while I am not a fan of fruit flavoured ice cream, I don't mind this one.  Though I limit myself to only a spoonful or two.  I still prefer "Half Baked".

"Cherry Garcia" will forever immortalize the memory of Jerry Garcia, who died in August 1995 at the age of 53.

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