Thursday, June 25, 2009

Death Always Come in Threes

I was just thinking about the three icons from my past that have passed this week. Being a lifelong insomniac I spent many many summer nights as a kid up watching television before the age of infomercials. That was the time I got an education about the great movies of the past (especially the Universal monster movies) because they were shown all night long. I also never missed the Tonight Show with Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson. Ed died this week and there was never a better 'straight man' or 'second banana' than him. You would laugh just because he was laughing regardless if Johnny was funny or not that night. I would wait all week for Johnny to do his Karnack the Magnificent skit only to see Ed repeat each time the prediction of what was the answer to the question in the envelopes. You may have seen that bit a hundred times but they made it fresh and funny each night.

Second to die this week was Farrah Fawcett. Now I have to admit that I was more of a Cheryl Ladd man myself since I tended to avoid the crushes that EVERYONE was having. For that same reason I didn't get into Susanne Sommers but I totally adored Loni Anderson. Farrah made it okay to 'ooogle' a pretty actress if that makes any sense. She was a real girl. We all had a crush on one of our classmates simply because she wore her hair with the famous feathered layers that Farrah made popular. She never seemed to me to be a 'manufactured' beauty.

Finally we have Michael Jackson. I will admit that for a time this afternoon I had a strange suspicion that he had faked his own death to get out of performing in London this July. It just seemed like something that he would pull. But then I realized just how much I had followed his life and his career despite the fact that he was always top of my 'most despised celebrities' list. He was an icon and I remember exactly were I was when he first did that moon walk at the Motown 25th Anniversary ceremony. I can't lie - I was electrified in a way that no performer has done before or since for me. I remember how much we loved his videos and how much he brought to music in the 80s. Thriller was one of the first tapes I bought for my new tape deck in my beloved Volkswagen Beatle (though I only played it when I was driving alone). I guess at the same time he let me down and I enjoyed the tales of his weirdness and depravity in the same way we all enjoy seeing the mighty knocked off their perch. We all know that only the Germans have a word for that - Schadenfreude. You know you are famous when people as diverse as Joe Pesci and Uri Geller are among the first people to eulogize you. Batshit crazy? YES! But an unforgettable human being nonetheless.


Cora said...

I know. Weird, isn't it? Between the three of them, I feel like I lost a big chunk of my childhood this week.

Wings1295 said...

Very good post Cal, you hit the nail on the head with all three of them.

I wasn't a watched of the Tonight Show, but I knew who Ed was and how good him and Johnny were together. Sad.

And I was a Sabrina/Kate Jackson fan myself, but Farrah WAS the 70s, wasn't she? She was just a beautiful girl boys like and girls wanted to look like. Farrah hair was the style! She seemed to still have such a great sense of humor at the end. Very sad.

Jackson was, in the 80s, the biggest of the big. He has fallen a lot since then, his fame was an animal that turned on him. But, he helped perpetuate the problems. He was one weird dude. Not sure about the allegations and all that, but his music was, in it's time, great. Sad that his life imploded.