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Buffalo Musician Had Unique View of the Ed Sullivan Show Magic


Everyone is talking today about the magic that happened on the Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago last night. And with good reason.

There is simply no topping the greatness of magician Fred Kaps, who demonstrated his craft on that unforgettable night. Kaps, who shared the bill with actor (and friend of Buffalo) Frank Gorshin and -- who else? oh, right, British rockers the Beatles -- is a particular figure of fascination to Buffalo musician Bob Davis, pictured above, who does magic on the side. He told Buzz how, when he was able to nail a video of the episode, he didn't bother with the Beatles. "I haven't gotten around to watching them," he confessed. "I've only seen Fred Kaps. He was great."

On Facebook yesterday, Bob Davis joined in the wave of awe regarding the show 50 years ago.

"Fred Kaps," he wrote, simply.

Further words are unnecessary.


Rare Vintage Car Is Prize At Auto Show


Who knew the Buffalo Auto Show was going on 100 years ago this week?

The Auto Show has been rolling for a century! We found that out looking at The Buffalo News from 100 years ago today.

A century ago they were doing a drawing for an Overland Flyer car, pictured above.

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They were going to get "some young girl" to draw the winning ticket. You have to read down the story a little to get to this detail which, Buzz did.

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Buzz has half a mind to go to the Auto Show with this clipping and demand a chance to win that Overland Flyer.

"Well, it says right here in the paper..."


Buffalo Stoplight Fanatic Gets Green Light, Begins Blog


By Mary Kunz Goldman

Encouraged by Buzz, traffic signal expert Ryan Lysarz has begun his blog about traffic lights.

This isn't any blink-and-you'll-miss-it thing. He plans on writing regularly about the changing Buffalo signal scene, and apparently he has enough scholarship to carry him for years.

The first couple of posts show Ryan seeing red over the missing signal that used to be in front of Holy Name of Jesus Church on Bailey Avenue, and discussing what he calls the single most significant traffic signal intersection in Buffalo.

Definitely a blog that can be talked about on the street corner! As well as when you are stuck in traffic with nothing to do. Ryan has been studying traffic signals since he was 4. For the uninitiated he offers a primer on how to identify various models of traffic lights. That is a Crouse-Hinds Art Deco classic in the photograph up above, a photo he took on Grant Street.

OK, enough introductions. Ryan, you have the green light.


Historian Zeroes in on Unnoticed Feature of Buffalo


By Mary Kunz Goldman

Buzz's friend Ryan Lysarz is obsessed with city streets, particularly on the East Side. Lysarz, 30, has admitted to driving for hours of a Sunday afternoon, just pointing out things of interest and keeping watch on what has changed. Nothing escapes him. (By the way that was Ryan who passed on that classic Pepsi quote from the frosty Noco station in this week's Buzz column.)

Recently Lysarz made public the above photograph of Bailey Avenue. The signal, he notes, recently disappeared.

He wrote:

Most people don't notice them, but to me, vintage traffic signals are like old friends that I can wave at whenever I drive by," he writes. "Time to say goodbye to these guys, who resided in front of the former Holy Name of Jesus Church on Bailey Avenue for many years. Their only purpose was to help children from the church's long-shuttered school to cross the street. Now, the school building is vacant and rapidly deteriorating, the church (minus its steeple, which was removed a couple of years ago) is home to a different congregation, and the traffic signals are gone. At least the Bingo sign still remains, and probably will until the building is torn down.

Lysarz's picture drew comments from such luminaries as Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame stalwart Doris Jones, and Channel 4's Jacquie Walker, who wrote: "Keep letting us know about things like this, Ryan. Most of us can see these things, but have no idea WHAT we're seeing! History, perspective, and context are your gifts to us."

Ryan responded:  "I'm glad to see that other people can appreciate these things. I'm thinking about starting a blog to keep track of the remaining old signals of interest."

That would be an illuminating project, Ryan! Buzz will help get the word out when the blog begins.

Let us know when you can give us the green light!

When the Bills Hit Home Too Hard

Hey, sure we missed the playoffs, but it's only a game!


This story comes from The Buffalo Evening News 100 years ago this week. Happily, the situation seems to have worked itself out OK. So we can forgive ourself for comically misunderstanding the headline.

Who could help it?


A Strange Sight in Kaisertown


Why are we worrying about the Buffalo Athletic Club when it is Christmas Eve? 

Today's Buzz column tells the tale of a group of carolers' adventures in Black Rock. The adventure continued last night in Kaisertown. Above is a pic taken last night on a Kaisertown street corner of attorney Patrick Krey, his wife Jennifer and their two proper Victorian sons, Harry and Frank.

The carolers, who also included jazz singer Mari McNeil and Forgotten Buffalo's Airborne Eddy, sang in the Kaisertown branch library, in front of a house that looked as if it belonged to the Griswolds (nobody came out, even after three vigorous verses of "Joy To the World"), and at Wiechec's Lounge, where half the crowd filmed the singers on their iPhones and the other half looked the other way. 

Most memorable was "Adeste Fideles" in Latin at a Pakistani deli, after which the proprietor, laughing, generously offered water and pop.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen!

With the Buffalo Athletic Club Sale, History Takes a Hit

Postcard bac

As a Buffalo Athletic Club member, Buzz has a particular concern -- our only concern, actually -- regarding the club's sale to L.A. Fitness.

We are worried for the downtown location.

The BAC at 69 Delaware has an august history. Buzz's uncles have told us what it was like decades ago when it was an actual club. Gentlemen stored their clothes there and drank and dined -- and, yes, smoked -- in its dining rooms. Buffalo native Leonard Pennario, the internationally renowned concert pianist, used to ascend the club's marble steps when he was in town and go there. All kinds of important men did. It is one of the last surviving venerable Delaware Avenue clubs.

Even in recent years, the downtown Buffalo Athletic Club had a kind of exalted nature that lingered in spite of the crummy music and the cheap membership specials. You could walk on a treadmill and listen in as judges and lawyers discussed their cases. Buzz has rubbed elbows with all kinds of interesting and influential people including Judge Penny Wolfgang, Judge Curtin (he was in our Pilates class a few years ago), community activist Samuel Herbert and the artist and attorney LeRoi Johnson. 

There is also that beautiful pool, left over from more luxurious years.

This is the kind of brand that even bone-headed marketing has not been able to kill. It will be a shame to see this club lose its name and forfeit its history. It is a loss to the town.

Oh well. It seems something at the BAC has turned upside down.

The dumbbells are now in charge!


Woman Pays $500 Fine For Shooting At Husband

This was the news 100 years ago! The Buffalo News has a display where they show the paper from 100 years ago and this caught our eye.

The woman was shooting at her husband in a crowd of spectators. 

Have to love how it is just this tiny item. On the front page, sure, but not anywhere near the top.

Life was wild 100 years ago!

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AM Buffalo Loses Its Head

Buzz could never work for Channel 7's AM Buffalo. We are not a morning person. And we are guessing, judging from what a history-minded friend tells us today, that reporter Jon Summers is not, either. Today's show, our friend says, was about cancer, and Summers was talking  with folks from the General Motors plant and from the American Cancer Society.

When all of a sudden he said that Mary, Queen of Scots, died of cancer.

Ahem, Jon. While any mention of Mary, Queen of Scots ...


... in a mainstream television show is to be appreciated, she did not die of cancer.

She had her head chopped off!

By order of Queen Elizabeth I!

Yes, Mary, Queen of Scots, lost her head. And it appears that it is catching.

Someone, get this man another cup of coffee!

Once Again, Mark Twain's House Disappears

Twain houseThomas Reigstad, Buff State professor and author of "Scribblin' For a Livin': Mark Twain's Pivotal Period in Buffalo," gave a talk about Twain in Elmira on Nov. 30, Mark Twain's birthday. It was sponsored by the, ahem, Elmira College Center For Mark Twain Studies.

Present were two huge sheet cakes from Wegmans, which Reigstad reports were decorated with the gold and purple colors of Elmira College. 

One cake was frosted with the words "Happy 168th Birthday Olivia." Twain's wife was born November 27, 1845.

The other said "Happy 178th Birthday Mark Twain." It also had a huge picture of the house, pictured at left, that the Twains received as a wedding gift, at 472 Delaware Ave. in Buffalo.

Olivia's cake was cut up and went fast. However, Reigstad observed ...

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