Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP - Happens In Threes

They say celeb deaths comes in threes, and today's pair close out the set. All three were part of my generation's pop culture.

When you're a kid, being old enough to stay up and watch THE TONIGHT SHOW was a rite of passage. You always knew who Johhny and Ed were, but to see them on the show... that meant you were almost an adult. Ed McMahon was a great straight man for Johnny, and his phrases are used by people today (including me). He did a bunch of commercials, and even popped up in some movies that I saw at the drive in... as the evil mob boss.


When I learned of Farrah's passing this morning I mentioned on a message board that my collection of shorts - SHORTS OF BILL MARTELL - featured her iconic poster on a pair of boxers. She was on the shorts. There was an iron on transfer of her poster, and the girl I was dating back then did the ironing. The film's titles played over the shorts with her iconic image. That was the joke - that her poster was everywhere. She was everywhere. Later she struggled to fit in as an actress, rather than a sex symbol. She made a great TV film THE BURNING BED, and then tried to catch that lightning in a bottle again, with mixed results.

Farrah Fawcett in EXTREMITIES...

I remember watching dance shows on Sunday afternoons, like SOUL TRAIN with Don Cornelius. I always joke that growing up in the East East Bay Area, you could turn your radio dial in one direction and get the Oakland stations and in the other direction and get the Stockton stations... I went for Oakland and MoTown over Country Western. I have no idea on what show I first saw The Jackson 5, but they had pop hit after pop hit. Michael grew up as I did, went out on his own, and managed to be a huge hit machine in the 80s... Can you remember the first time you saw the THRILLER video? Wow! I remember dancing in clubs with a succession of girls to Billy Jean and a bunch of his other songs. But the song I most remember by Jackson was from a horror movie.

Michael Jackson... BEN theme...

All will be missed. Already, I can't get that BEN theme out of my head.

- Bill


MaryAn Batchellor said...

Can't digest this day. Feels like the day Elvis died.

Racicot said...

Happy Birthday to me. Ever weird.

S. Harlan Cone said...

Yeah, the "threes" thing has been downright creepy this week.

Miss Fawcet seemed like an incredibly sweet and strong person. I'm a young'un so I never got into her work, but I just might go netflix some of it now.

Despite the young'un status, though, I DO remember the very end of Carson's run. I used to watch him with my grandmother when she would babysit me. Myself and friends will throw out a "HAYOOO" sometimes, and I have a soft spot for McMahon's throaty guffaw. It was cool to see Conan O'Brien use footage from an interview that he and Andy did with McMahon years ago on Late Night for Tonight Show's closing credits last night. It was hilarious and classy.

I was never a big fan of Mr. Jackson's work, but when a guy is as beloved as he was you gotta acknowledge the fire when you see the smoke. I do remember the big deal that Fox made out of the "Black or White" video.

Hopefully that satisfies my strange need to eulogize people I didn't know on the internet.

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