Gil Sandler's Baltimore Stories

Ethel Ennis

Sep 18, 2015

This is Ethel Ennis, Baltimore born and nternational renowned singer with the buttery soft voice, on opening night of Ethel's place, her cabaret-supper club across the street from the Meyerhoff. It is February 18,1985. This is the same Ethel Ennis who, born on Calhoun street in West Baltimore in 1938, was, by the time she was only seven playing a mean piano; by fifteen, she had cultivated her famous intimate style and was singing with blues and jazz artists: first in Baltimore, then throughout the country; then, London.

Rice's Bakery

Sep 8, 2015

Up into the 1970's the driver of a Rice's Bakery truck would come to your door with a tray full to overflowing with sinfully delicious baked goods - Vienna bread, Parker house rolls, cherry pie - and Louisiana Ring cakes. Louisiana Ring cake was a house specialty whose recipe, owner Emory Rice said, remained secret, known only in these years to Rice's alone. The Rice's door-to-door delivery trucks are gone - and the legend is that nobody these days has the recipe for Louisiana Ring cake, and this is the story of that legend.

Ben Hur

Sep 8, 2015

In the early 1900's Baltimorean Francis X. Bushman was a down and out actor, who, to make ends meet, hired himself out as a model to artists and sculptors. In that hand to mouth existence, he became the model for the statue of Cecil Calvert, which stands in front of the Baltimore courthouse on St Paul Street today. Years later when he was rich and famous he had occasion to visit Baltimore-but he did not ask to see the stature of Cecil Calvert for which he had been the model. His explanation surprises...

Mary Avara

Aug 24, 2015

In June of 1981, in a small room high up in the office building located at One South Calvert Street, history was being made. The Maryland Board of Censors, which censored all the movies shown in the local movie houses, was holding its last session. Its long time Chair of the Board was the formidable and ultra-conservative Mary Avara: her remarks on the end of the board's power mark the end of an era.

Hula Hoops

Aug 14, 2015

 In the late summer of 1962, Baltimoreans of all ages could be seen on street corners and playgrounds, on country club lawns and back alleys, gyrating in a studied effort to keep a plastic hoop twirling about one's body while keeping it clinging. The plastic hoop was called a hula hoop, and among the celebrity hula hoopers was City Comptroller Hyman Pressman - and this is the story of how he bravely entered the City's hula hoop contest and sadly lost!