Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 22, 2008 / 21 Menachem-Av 5768

Engineer Bill and Engineer Ollie

By Greg Crosby


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I suppose the passing of Bill Stulla won't mean much to anyone who wasn't a kid in the Los Angeles area during the fifties and sixties, but for those of us who were, we lost a dear friend and daily companion when "Engineer Bill" died in his sleep at the age of 97 last Tuesday. Model trains, cartoons, and milk - I developed a lifelong love of these things thanks to Engineer Bill.


The show, "Cartoon Express" was on the air daily, Engineer Bill would sit with two different guest kids each day, one boy and one girl, behind a model railroad layout. Dressed in complete railroad engineer get up, he'd chat with the kids in-between showing old cartoons. But the highlight of the show was the game called, Red Light, Green Light which was played by Engineer Bill and his two guests, and (in an early version of interactive TV) all of us kids watching at home. It went like this:


Engineer Bill and his two guests sat holding their full milk glasses poised while an off-screen announcer would cry out, "Green Light" — the signal to start drinking. They'd have to keep going until the announcer would shout out, "Red Light," when they had to immediately stop drinking. The goal of the game was to finish the glass of milk without drinking on the red light. As you drank, you never knew when "Red Light" would be shouted out, and when you stopped, you never knew when "Green Light " would be announced for you to start drinking again.


Sometimes the announcer would try to fake out everybody by shouting, "Green Frog," or Green Grass," or "Red River" or "Red Ryder" or other substittute sounding names. I know this sounds like a simple kids game and it was, but I loved it.


Engineer Bill was one of several local kid show hosts that I grew up with. The others were Skipper Frank, Sherrif John, Fireman Joe, and Tom Hatten. These were the first adults, outside of my parents, that shaped my young little mind. They're ingrained in my brain. I'll never forget them or the shows. There were others too, that came a bit later. Chucko the Clown was more for my sister's age group and Hobo Kelly was my brother's period.


I'm proud to say that I grew up in the Engineer Bill and Sherriff John epoch. In addition to the wonderful old cartoons they showed, they taught good stuff to us kids. Long before Seasame Street and other public television children's "workshops" these local kid shows were on the front lines of instilling citizenship and good manners to kids.


Simple rules of life for youngsters were stressed such as look both ways before crossing the street, never talk to strangers, pick up after yourself, and be kind to your brothers and sisters. They supported good old American values and decency, things such as respect for adults, helping around around the house with chores, minding your parents, taking responsibility for your pets, and generally learning how to be good people.


I guess you might say that these local children's shows were the preschools for my generation - visiting daily with friends such as Engineer Bill you had fun, were taught life lessons and early learning concepts, and best of all you never had to leave the comfort of you own living room.


Engineer Bill was my TV pal, but I lost a real life friend recently with the passing of Ollie Johnston. Ollie too, was lucky enough to live to a ripe old age. He was 95. Ollie was one of the all time great original animators at the Walt Disny Studio. One of the famous "Nine Old Men" as Walt refered to his key team of artists, Ollie inspired generations of up and coming cartoonists such as myself.


A true "gentleman" in every sense of the word, I always found Ollie the most approachable of all the heavy hitters that were still working at the studio when I joined in 1970. He always took time to visit with me, answer questions and share his knowledge of animation and creative thinking. He was a soft-spoken man, sweet, humble and almost shy, but what an animator! Talented and kindly are two words I would use to describe Ollie.


Just as Engineer Bill influenced me as a tot, Ollie had much the same affect on me as a young artist. He encouraged me in my early animation attempts, he appreciated my sense of humor (which at times could be offbeat and a bit edgy), and he took the time to oversee my sketches and pencil tests and offer his advice and guidance. This he did on his own time, even when he had his own deadlines to contend with and work to do. He had tremendous patience and was always there to help kids like me. That was the kind of guy Ollie was.


Ollie was also an avid railroader. He built a one inch scale train set-up, a "live steamer" which he operated in the yard at his home in Flintridge. He would don his engineer's cap, and sit on the tender of his locomotive and give neighborhood kids and other friends rides. And it was because of Ollie that Walt Disney got involved and had a similar set-up at his home, too.


Ollie also ran a seven ton full-size steam locomotive on a half-mile of track on land he owned with his lifelong friend and colaborator, Frank Thomas near Julian. The train was named the Marie E. after his wife. I even had the privillage to actually drive it once myself (under Ollie's direction of course). I'll never forget that day.


Much has been written on Ollie and deservedly so - he was truly a pioneer in the art of animation. Among the many honors and awards given to him over the years, was the National Medal of Arts which was presented to him in November 2005 by President Bush in Washington. No one was ever more deserving. I just feel so fortunate to have known him personally.


As mentioned earlier, Engineer Bill helped instill in me a lifelong love of cartoons, trains, and milk. It's interesting that fifteen or so years after that, another engineer named Ollie Johnston came into my life and reenforced by a thousand fold that love for cartoons and trains in me. There's only one thing I'm not sure of how Ollie felt about milk.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

Greg Crosby Archives

© 2006, Greg Crosby

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles