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I think my brother fell in love with trucks during the CB radio craze of the mid-1970s.

Craig often had a wild affinity for some subject or another, and when he did he went all out.

And when Craig was crazy about something, everybody in the family would be roped in by his enthusiasm.

So then we all got into CB radios, every one of our vehicles had to have one. Everybody had to have a CB handle. Craig even went so far as to install a separate CB band aerial on top of the house. The breakfast nook in our kitchen was turned into the base station for the CBs. And of course we had to have a lot of equipment.

Craig Ward with his parents

Craig was the “Happy Hippy”. I was “Camelback”. Brother Bart went by “Cool Breeze,” and Dad was the “Roadhog” which he could never remember. He would get on the radio and say, “This is the Road Agent” or something similar but totally unlike “Roadhog”.

During this time it wasn’t just the radios that were hot — It was trucking in general. There were hit songs about truck driving and the newer ones were CB radio-oriented. There were movies about Over-The-Road-Truckers and their CB radios doing various things. There was even a hit TV show at the time called “Moving On” and it featured a theme song by Merle Haggard, no less.

Although I can’t lay my hands on it at this time, I remember well a photograph we took of Craig on his 22nd birthday. The cake was shaped like a CB radio and the legend in frosting said “Break

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When I was young, I discovered a magical place — the public library.

One of the many revelations there was that comics were treated in a scholarly manner.  I could get a great big coffee-table book of old newspaper or comic book reprints.  It was heaven.

One of the scholars and enthusiasts responsible for these books was Bill Blackbeard, who passed away March 10.

What a great name — totally suitable for the kind of guy who fearlessly collects and preserves comics.  I was a big fan of Blackbeard.

If you’d like to find out more about this ultimate comic fan, The Comics Journal has a list of articles written about Blackbeard that you can digest.

We all know that comics is an art form, don’t we?  And a valuable piece of history.

WADE

TAGS: Bill Blackbeard, comics, history, The Comics Journal, newspaper, comic books, comic strips, cartoons

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