Gil Sandler | WYPR

Gil Sandler

Host, Baltimore Stories

Gil Sandler was born and raised in Baltimore -- a circumstance he considers fortunate and one he does not want you to forget. He attended public school (P.S. #59, Garrison Junior High, Baltimore City College, Class of 1941) and then served in the United States Navy.
Returning, he completed his college education at the University of Pennsylvania (Class of 1949). In 1967 he earned his Master's Degree in Liberal Arts from the Johns Hopkins University. He began to write features for the Sunday Sun and a weekly column ("Baltimore Glimpses") for The Evening Sun. "Baltimore Glimpses" would continue for 31 years. He is the author of six books (Johns Hopkins University Press): The Neighborhood, Baltimore Glimpses Revisited, Jewish Baltimore, Small Town Baltimore, Wartime Baltimore, Glimpses of Jewish Baltimore.
He has received numerous awards for his writing and lecturing, including the Emmert Award for Feature Writing for The Sunday Sun and election to Hall of Fame of his alma mater, Baltimore City College.
Asked how long he thinks, he can continue telling “Baltimore Stories,” he replies, "I'm just getting started." Gil Sandler's Baltimore Stories is made possible in part by

Schaefer Reenactment

Jul 21, 2017
daveynin/flickr

In 2001 on the 20th anniversary of the Grand Opening of the National Aquarium and of Mayor Schaefer's promise at the time: "If that aquarium isn't finished by August 8, I will personally jump into the seal pool." The aquarium did not open on time and the mayor did jump in the seal pool, but the 20th anniversary of the event ran into unexpected problem. 

Gil tells us why you don't hear "Baltimore, Our Baltimore" ring out at Orioles games, or anywhere, really. 

Symphony Farewell

Jun 30, 2017
Shiva Shenoy

The Lyric Theater on the night of May 27, 1982 was historic. The Baltimore Symphony patrons were there to say goodbye—the Symphony’s concert this night was scheduled to be its last in the Lyric. Succeeding concerts would be at the newly opened Meyerhoff. But the goodbye proved to be far more poignant than any had expected…

On the Saturday night of July 7, 1937, crowds are making their way along the Light Street below Pratt to Pier 5, there to board the moonlight excursion boat, the Bay Belle. The boat would go down as far as Fort McHenry and then turn around and come back to Pier 5, an hour or so later.

But on its way past the Hull street wharf in Locust Point the boat would pass a gang of six or seven-year-old boys frolicking on the pier, watching the Bay Belle slip by. They had their own way of greeting the passengers on the boat, and this is the story of that special way.

This episode aired in July 2015. 

It’s easy and comfortable ride for Baltimoreans to get from Highlandtown on the east side of the harbor to Locust Point on the west. But up through the late 1940s ferry boats carried hundreds daily, from one side of the harbor to the other. And during WWII shipyard workers aboard created the first, last, and oldest establishment floating crap game in Baltimore. 

William Warby/flickr

Out on Dulaney Valley Road at Dance Mill Road, a yellow school bus turns into a narrow road. In minutes, the school children-- as thousands did before and after —disembark. They have come this day in 1955 to Cloverland Farms—to see cows milked! But in 1981 the milking barn closed---leaving subsequent generations of children believing, this story goes, that maybe chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

Clockwork

Jun 2, 2017
bromoseltzertower.com

On July 7, 2007, Baltimoreans whose habit it was to look up nine stories to the top of the Bromo Seltzer tower to check the time on one of its four clocks --  facing east,  west, north, south—were bewildered. The clocks were out of sync, one with the other, and showing different times. The story--when Baltimoreans didn’t know the time of day!

Haussner's

May 26, 2017

On the afternoon of December 18, 1999, watched anxiously in auctioneering house in Timonium, as the auctioneer rattled off the artifacts for sale from the once and famous and now defunct Haussner's restaurant - weeks earlier a reigning queen at Eastern Avenue and Conkling streets. In the end the memories of thousands of lunches and dinners and of millions of dollars of artwork and 73 years of Baltimore times winds up in a ball of twine - on display in an antique shop on Fells Point.

​This episode originally aired March 2016.

Women Jockeys

May 19, 2017
Karen Hosler/flickr

On the afternoon of May 18, 2013 at the Preakness at Pimlico, a horse named Mylute came in third. She was ridden by Rosie Nepravnik—the only female jockey in this race. How a woman jockey got be right in there with all the male jockeys, in what was historically, an all-male society, is a Baltimore story. 

Betsy

May 12, 2017
Paul Kurlak/flickr

In October of 1955, Reuter’s Moscow newswire was crackling: A painter of genius had just been discovered in America. The artist-subject, a Baltimorean, had been soaring to fame and recognition world-wide; for the originality of her paintings. When the word came out revealing at long last who she was, this same admiring audience was stunned. Who was she?

Birds, Sox, Hex

May 5, 2017
Ian S/flickr

On a day in late September, 1975, two men sat in the cockpit of small plane about to take off from BWI Airport for a four day trip to Nairobi in Africa and back.  They were off on a strange and historic mission: to get a witch doctor to put a hex on the Boston Red Sox. What is this weird story all about? 

In 1938, Baltimoreans crowded Dundalk ave. and welcomed the American hero and aviator, Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan. Baltimore Mayor, Howard W. Jackson, staged the event to promote the city and, in particular, Baltimore's hot steamed crabs.

Eli Hanover

Apr 21, 2017
J Dimas/flickr

Eli Hanover was a grizzled, ex-boxer who ran a gym over the Jewel Box Night Club down on the old and now infamous Block in East Baltimore. He had a dream: to train the boxers who would make Baltimore America’s center for boxing. Fighttown Baltimore, he called the dream. But it never happened. The dream died with the dreamer. 

fly/flickr

In the 1950,s in the days when there were two Baltimore’s—one white and the other Black, there were two Easter Parades. For the white community, Charles Street; for the African American, Pennsylvania Avenue.. The high fashions for the high occasion came almost exclusively from the Charm Center fashion store; and Avenue Easter Parade strollers agreed; you couldn’t have the parade without the store.

Organ Grinders

Mar 31, 2017
Maryland Historical Society

Up through the 1940s Baltimoreans knew it was spring when they saw the organ grinders and their monkeys appear suddenly on the street corners of downtown. One such organ grinder was Luciano Ibolito, and his monkey’s name was Julia. And this is the story of how together they would usher spring in Baltimore.

Joe Howard

Mar 24, 2017
http://msa.maryland.gov

On December 2, 1968, in the Baltimore City Courthouse, Joseph Howard, the very first African American ever to be elected to a 15-year-term as a judge serving on the Supreme Bench of Baltimore, was being sworn in. But before the afternoon was over, the newly appointed judge would have an experience that as a Judge he did not expect.

Creative Commons

The year is 1929. Baltimore is sharing in the good life of the Roaring Twenties, until October 29, when the stock market crashed and the lights went out. The day marked the beginning of a decade known as the Great Depression. Author Gil Sandler narrates a history he wrote of the Great Depression, as it was lived out in Baltimore.

They were years of sorrow for white and black, young and old, rich and poor. One out of four were out of a job and couldn’t find one.. Paychecks stopped, as did payments of rent and mortgages. Families were evicted from their homes. Money to buy groceries was scarce. Banks failed; some shut their doors forever, taking with them the life savings of depositors.

Though times were dark, people found ways to get through them. And survive them. 

Gil tells this history with small stories that made up the big story-- through to the end of the Depression era in the late 1930s.In the end, you will hear how the Great Depression of the 1930s has affected our lives profoundly—down to today.

The Moon Is Blue

Mar 17, 2017

On the afternoon of July 11, 1953, the Chairman of the Maryland Board of Movie Censors emerged from the viewing room, the fifth floor of the Equitable Building on Calvert Street, and made an announcement that shook the town: the Board would not allow the movie “The Moon Is Blue” to be shown. What happened next was historic.

Danny's

Mar 10, 2017
Maryland Fisheries Service/DNR

Motorists driving north on Charles during March of 1989 were delighted to see, off to their right, high on the two story building at Biddle, a sign, “The Run Is On!” That sign appearing in late March every year was cheering: a favorite Baltimore dish was again available at Danny’s Restaurant—boneless shad and shad roe. But Danny’s is closed, there is no longer public notice that it’s shad season in Baltimore.

PhotoAtelier/flickr

At precisely five minutes to 5:00 on December 31, 1959 at Walters’ Public Bath House No. 2 at 900 Washington Boulevard, a man was taking the very last shower in the very last public bath house in Baltimore. It was 5:00 exactly when he shut down his shower he shut down, too, the era of public baths in Baltimore.

msa.maryland.gov

Ethel Ennis,  the Baltimore vocalist with the buttery-soft voice, was born in Baltimore but enjoyed international renown performing in London and Paris and cities around the world—and received many tempting invites to live in any one of them. Yet she chose to come home to live and work in Baltimore. She explained, “You don’t have to move up by moving on. You can bloom where you were planted.” And so she did.

"Strawberry Time"

Feb 17, 2017
Ewan Traveler/flickr

Gil tells us about a time before WWII when strawberries were grown and picked by Baltimoreans.

On the evening of August 10, 1908, Baltimore entrepreneur and socialite Isaac Emerson was having dinner in the then very fashionable Belvedere Hotel. It was a very hot and humid night and so Mr. Emerson felt inclined to take off his coat. Whereupon the maitre de rushed to his table and admonished him on the impropriety of taking off one’s coat in the Belvedere dining room. Emerson got furious, and walked out, murmuring that he would build his own hotel. And he did.

Melissa Clark/flickr

Gil tells us about Louie Goldstein, who spent more than a decade advocating for his beloved Calvert County to be the home of a third Bay Bridge span.

marylandtransitadministration.blogspot.com

On today's Baltimore Stories, Gil tells us about a transportation option that allowed riders to take in the "charms of Charm City" from a high perch.

bour3/flickr

Gil brings us the story of Sidney Friedman and his 1930s advertising campaign for The Chesapeake that dared Baltimoreans to "cut your steak with a fork or tear it up and walk out."

Dyer's Deceit

Jan 6, 2017
broadcastpioneers.com

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

New Years Eve, 1938

Dec 30, 2016
Luis Deliz/flickr

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

"The Littlest Angel"

Dec 23, 2016
www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org

Gil tells of the 1953 "street theater behind glass" in the window of the Hochschild, Kohn department store in downtown Baltimore.

Robert Bejil

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. 

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