This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More "RIPs" Than A Bean-Eating Contest!

That's a really frivolous title for such a serious subject... but I had to collect a bunch of recent celebrity death notices into one post. It's been a few days since all of these people died, and I wanted to mention them.

1. Neal Hefti, 1922-2008, R.I.P.

Hefti's biggest claim to fame was being the composer of the Batman TV show theme. Everybody in the world seems to know it, especially the one person who always horns in on an otherwise serious conversation about comic books, by singing that theme.

2. Mr. Blackwell, 1922-2008, R.I.P.

Author of the annual "Worst Dressed Women" list since its inception in 1960. He used to list the ten worst-dressed & best-dressed women on television for a few years running in TV Guide, but these articles always seemed to confuse the characters with the actresses that portrayed them. (I don't have any of those lists handy for reference; trust me.) For example, he'd look at the "Roseanne Conner" character on Roseanne, and write about how Roseanne Barr -- or Roseanne Arnold, or Roseanne, or whatever the hell she was calling herself that month -- dressed like such a frump! I always expected to read a diatribe against the Happy Days cast where he complained that their styles were decades out of date!

(Here's a little side-rant, if you will: I'm sick of actors and actresses -- and don't f**king correct me, I hate it when people refer to an actress as an actor -- who complain that the viewing public can't tell the actor/actress from the character he/she portrays. If they were really that concerned, maybe they'd stop using their real first names as the first names of their characters (usually in sitcoms)?

Lucille Ball was "Lucy" in every damned sitcom she did.

After being "Rob" and "Laura" on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore usually played characters named "Dick" and "Mary" respectively.

Sometimes the actors shared their entire name with their character, a device which worked best when the sitcoms delivered a Bizarro version of the actor's real life [The Jack Benny Show, Seinfeld, not so much The Jeff Foxworthy Show... ].

Sometimes I suppose it gave a sense of solidarity between the new show and the comedian's stand-up routine [Roseanne's "Roseanne Conner," as mentioned above, Ray Romano's "Ray Barone," Tim Allen's "Tim Taylor," and... Oh, hell, you come up with some!]

And didja know that Sally was one of the working titles for a sitcom that became Reba... once Reba McEntire was hired for the starring role?)

A final observation on Mr. Blackwell: I've mentioned here and there that one reason I do these notices is that, for me, it nails down the actual death date of a celebrity. Mr. Blackwell happens to be one of those whose supposed death I'd heard about years ago. But now it's on my blog, so it must be true, right?

Hey. Hey!

Stop laughing.

3. Levi Stubbs, 1936-2008, R.I.P.

Singer for the Four Tops. Damnit! Not much to say. Not a great year for soul artists, overall.

4. And last, but most assuredly not least...

Miss Edie Adams, 1927-2008, R.I.P.

(Sorry for not posting this one until over a week after I'd read of her death!)

The one and only Groucho Marx once introduced Edie Adams by saying,"There are some things Edie won't do, but nothing she can't do."


Edie really could "do it all." She was an actress and a singer -- who won the Tony award for playing Daisy Mae in Li'l Abner -- as well as one hell of a dancer. She was also a skilled comedienne, and deservedly well-known for doing an uncanny impression of Marilyn Monroe.

She was the spokesperson for Muriel Cigars for many years. She popularized the slogan ""Why don't you pick one up and smoke it sometime?" -- often misquoted as "Why don't you pick me up and smoke me sometime?" but folks, she was not the cigar! -- and based her delivery on Mae West's "Why don't you come up and see me sometime?" Coincidentally, Miss Adams played Mae West in a TV-movie about Ernie Kovacs.

Regrettably, my primary interest in such a talented lady -- indeed, even the reason I own her fascinating autobiography -- was that she was the wife of early televion genius Ernie Kovacs. Kovacs was to TV what Will Eisner was to comics; Ernie worked around the medium's technological drawbacks and dazzled us with TV's unique technological advantages!

Kovacs also brought us the Nairobi Trio, a recurring skit which had the audacity to "hide" Miss Adams from us in a gorilla costume!

Thanks for your time.

Yes, Edie Adams did sing!
And not too shabbily, I might add!

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