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In the Good Old Days

Trivia Question

What was the last movie James Dean appeared in?

Look! Up in the Sky!

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credit: Alohaflaminggo/

A few weeks ago, as I was driving home from a fundraiser at the local pizza place, I witnessed an amazing cosmic event: a fireball of epic proportions, streaking across the northern sky and ending with a sonic boom and a blaze of orange. I was dumbfounded and scrambled for my cell phone to call my husband, who was following behind me in his truck. "Did you see that!?" I shrieked into the phone. "What was that?" What turned out to be a meteor had people from six Midwestern states all abuzz that evening.

I have always been fascinated by the planets, the stars and other cosmological objects. Maybe that's because I was raised during the era of exciting new space exploration. Or maybe it's because Apollo 11 landed on the moon on my birthday in 1969. Or maybe it's because I lived in a place where the stars were always visible, never impeded by the bright lights of a big city.

When my siblings and I were kids, our dad bought a telescope for us. It came with an instructional book called "The Wonders of the Sky." I still recall the summer nights when we would throw an old blanket on the ground in the field behind our house, set up the telescope and search for the constellations that were diagrammed in the book. Orion's Belt was my favorite -- I could spot it every time. It was a magical experience sitting there in the jet blackness, whispering among the chirping crickets and peering into the book by flashlight. But a ruckus ensued whenever we spotted something new. “Look!” someone would exclaim excitedly. One of my brothers thought he spied a falling star every single time he peered into the telescope. Another one of my brothers was sure he regularly glimpsed UFOs. Yet another brother was certain he saw Mars -- or was it Venus? It didn't really matter. We simply enjoyed the thrill of discovery and the pure, unhurried entertainment of studying the heavens on a calm, starry night.

No matter how old I get, I will always be compelled to look up in the sky.

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. Did you enjoy star-gazing as a kid? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at, and it could appear in a future update or in Good Old Days magazine!

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

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Trivia Answer

Giant (1956). The movie is a sprawling epic covering the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family, and his nemesis, played by Dean. Rock Hudson starred as the cattle rancher, and Elizabeth Taylor played his wife. Dean died in a car accident on Sept. 30, 1955, over a year before the movie was released. Filming was just drawing to a close when he died, and Nick Adams was hired to record some of Dean's dialogue.

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