Gil Sandler's Baltimore Stories | WYPR

Gil Sandler's Baltimore Stories

Gil on the (Minor League) Orioles' play-by-play announcer Bill Dyer and his so-called "lucky chair."

Gil tells us about the last voyage of the Howard W. Jackson ferry boat.

Gil Sandler, the legendary Baltimore folklorist who wrote for local newspapers and WYPR, draped the city in stories that will last forever. 

From former Governor Donald Schaefer to Al Capone to Leona Gage (the young woman from Glen Burnie who won "Miss America," only to have her crown ripped away!)...Gil gathered our local history and shared it with humor, beauty, wisdom, and utter charm.

Here, his three WYPR producers: Lisa Morgan, Luke Spicknall and Mary Rose Madden share a collaborative remembrance...one we hope would make Gil proud. 

December 6, 1943--The audience at The Hippodrome waited to see the Benny Goodman band with drummer Gene Krupa take the stage. But it wasn't Krupa behind the kit. Gil tells us how a Baltimore boy stood in for the famous drummer, without anyone knowing. 

To hear a famous Benny Goodman tune, click here

Gil tells us how the seasoning staple began. 

Number, Please!

Nov 30, 2018

Gil recalls a time in Baltimore before 10 digit phone numbers, when "Idlewild" and "Tuxedo" helped the telephone operator find who you were looking for.

Tulkoffs

Nov 23, 2018

On a morning in 1932, a woman customer walks into Tulkoff fruit and vegetable store at 1018 East Lombard Street. She could not know it and neither can Harry Tulkoff, the stores' woebegone owner, but she would soon open a spectacular chapter in the history of Baltimore and the world. 

Gil tells us more. 

Thursday, Nov. 25, 1962 (Thanksgiving Day)

Miller Brothers Restaurant--then on Fayette and Hanover Streets--was packed. Diners had turkey on their mind, but the maître d had another focus...he was counting the house. 

Gil explains. 

In the early afternoon of Thursday, March 9, 1933, in the heart of the Great Depression, the popular department store Hochschild Kohn's and the teachers of Baltimore City Public Schools were facing a crisis. To deal with a severe economic depression President Franklin Roosevelt had closed the banks taken out of the marketplace all available cash.

Gil tells us about a plan to pay the teachers that involved Hochschild Kohn's, City Hall, Walter Sondheim, and a Brinks truck.

On the afternoon of October 10th, 1945 the streets of downtown Baltimore were packed with people. 50,000 had come out to cheer Baltimore native and hero of World War II, Brigadier General James Devereaux. 

Gil tells us more.

Every year Baltimoreans hear about the National Spelling Bee where 12-year-old contestants are successfully spelling such esoteric words as tenebrous, dysphagia and retrogression. Up through the 1950s students from Baltimore City's junior high schools, under the sponsorship of the Baltimore Sun, competed in the National Spelling Bee. And here is where we begin the heartbreaking story of a little, 12-year-old African-American girl named Gloria Lockerman.

Phillip Goodman

Oct 19, 2018

December 7, 1962: 

Baltimore's City Hall was flag-draped. Outside bands are playing. Inside in the ceremonial room, officials busied themselves. TV cameras hovered. A new mayor was being sworn in though he had not been elected.

His name was Philip Goodman and he took the oath of office as mayor because the elected mayor, J. Harold Grady, had resigned to accept the position as a judge on the Baltimore City Circuit Court. So Goodman, then president of the City Council, automatically became mayor and the history that led him to this moment and the time he would serve in office make up not just a Baltimore story, but an American saga. 

Marconis' Last Plate

Oct 12, 2018
Morton Tadder

Gil tells us about the last dinners to be served at Marconis restaurant, a Baltimore institution that was in operation for 85 years. 

Pumpkin Papers

Oct 5, 2018
Sean Loyless/flickr

How a December 1948 trip to a pumpkin patch broke a spy case wide open. 

Dorothy Lamour

Sep 30, 2018
Morton Tadder

Famed movie star Dorothy Lamour married no less than a descendant of John Eager Howard and took her place among the city's elite in 1944. Baltimore high society may have laughed, but it was she who had the last laugh: she was perhaps the only former elevator operator ever to make the pages of the Baltimore Society's famed "Blue Book."

Poetry and Parkway

Sep 14, 2018
Alessandro Bonvini/flickr

Up into the 1970s, Baltimoreans could tune in on their radios to station WCAO at midnight and listen to—poetry! It was an hour of readings, to the accompaniment soft organ music, originating from the Parkway Theater on North Avenue.

“The last reading of the last night of the poetry hour read here comes a time to say the song is through.”

And for Baltimore’s first lat and only poetry hour it was.

Tommy's Wedding

Sep 7, 2018

When Congressman Tommy D'Alesandro, Jr. married Nancy Lombardi, Little Italy - where they were both born and raised - became one vast, day long party of wining and dining.  A little too much of it caused Tommy and Nancy to change their honeymoon plans!  

Henry Barnes

Aug 31, 2018

August 12, 1955: There's traffic and chaos outside of Gordons, a popular crab carryout at Orleans Street and Patterson Park Ave. It's a typical summer scene. Gil tells us about the time Traffic Commissioner Henry Barnes put himself and his reputation smack dab in the middle of the craziness. 

Eddie Rosenfeld

Aug 24, 2018

On an afternoon in 1946, a small crowd of spectators were gathered in front of a broken down, boarded up row house on tiny Tyson street, between Park and Read. Looking up they saw a strange sight: several men working on scaffolding set against the exterior wall of a house were panting the front exterior wall yellow...  The owner of the house was Eddie Rosenfeld, whom people called crazy to rehab the house and then to pint it yellow—on the street of broken- down houses. Time would show that in Baltimore, when you speak of people making lifestyle choices, you need to be careful who you call crazy. 

Nobska

Aug 17, 2018

The Inner Harbor along the Light Street quay on the soft spring evening of April 12, 1976, was alive with crowds and music. More than 500 of Baltimore’s beautiful people were milling about, shaking hands, congratulating one another.  The center of the festivities was the Grand Opening aboard the three-decker excursion steamer “Nobska,” majestic in white, sparkling in the late afternoon sun. It was presented as  Baltimore’s first floating—appropriately glamrous--restaurant. But the Nobska could not open because it was closed. Here’s the story.

On the Saturday afternoon of July 25, 1943, something unusual was going on in Baltimore’s Penn station on Charles Street just above Mt. Royal. In those wartime days, the station was a round-the-clock melee of soldiers and sailors and husbands and wives and lovers and loved ones embracing in hellos and goodbyes. That is why on this wartime Saturday afternoon a couple chose to get married in Penn Station, in a hurry--while they could still be together, only minutes before the groom was to depart for duty. The priest who married the couple invited each of the servicemen to kiss the bride, who in a gracious act of patriotism, went along--one kiss per serviceman!

"Cut it Down"

Jul 27, 2018

A story about how Rivers Chambers and his band changed a country western lament to keep the party going. 

Gil tells us about what led up to the 'opening' of the Orleans Street Viaduct in 1935. 

McKeldin's Speech

Jul 13, 2018

On the summer night of July 11, 1962 at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, those in the hall and millions watching television saw and heard Theodore R. McKeldin, former Mayor of Baltimore and incumbent Governor of Maryland, nominate General Dwight David Eisenhower for president of the United States...

Gil tells us how our beloved crab could've been second fiddle to another civic symbol: the banana.

The "Knothole Gang"

Jun 30, 2018
Morton Tadder

Gil remembers a complete surrender of the Orioles management to the neighborhood boys of Baltimore.

Eli Hanover (Encore)

Jun 19, 2018

Baltimore, 1940: In the gym of the Jewel Box Girly Club on 'The Block,' a 'trainer' worked at his dream: teaching contenders how to box and making Baltimore a world-renowned center for boxing. 

Civic Center

Jun 15, 2018

Gil remembers the conflicts that laid the foundation for the Civic Center.

Mt. Royal Station

Jun 8, 2018

Gil remembers the end of the line at Mt. Royal Station.  

WKC Signoff

Jun 1, 2018

The story of the very first radio station to broadcast in Baltimore is lost in the dustbin of Baltimore history - never to realize the full recognition it deserved.  That's because the father of the young builder of the station threw the station out - his son's most promising and historic creation!  

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