Hans is a sad panda today because we keep losing above average entertainers. Whose next, Roddy McDowell? Or worse, Malcom McDowell?
I know, I know. No time for jokes when so many families are now mourning their fallen loved ones. How do we honor these great entertainers? Well I think it’s high time I kicked up YouTube and looked at some old clips of Ed yucking it up with Johnny on The Tonight Show. Ed was one of those names that I always seemed to know but was never exposed to very much. In what little exposure I had to him he was always funny and genuine. He had the gift of comedy like few others and he influenced a generation. He will be missed.
With Farrah Fawcett, I have to say I mostly just looked at her as a sex symbol (hey, I’m a guy, that’s what guys do, don’t judge me). I never saw her on Charlie’s Angels (before my time), but there was one great moment where she proved her acting skill to me. It was a made for T.V. movie called The Burning Bed in which she played a battered wife who set her husband ablaze one night while he was asleep. The abusive relationship is seen in flashback as the central story focuses on the trial of Fawcett’s character, who is charged with second degree murder I believe. It’s a pretty awesome movie, and Fawcett has some really great moments as the lead. Point being, she leaves me with a really great impression. And I gotta feel pretty sorry for good old Ryan O’Neal, who proposed to her last week and she finally accepted, only for Fawcett to die today of cancer. Say a prayer for the restless heart of Ryan O’Neal, a.k.a. the loneliest man in the world tonight.
And Michael Jackson. We are not a music site, I realize, but few musical figures have had a greater influence on our culture (whether for good or for ill) than Michael Jackson. Also, the video for “Thriller” is probably the greatest music video of all time, a piece of theater that far surpasses many of the movies coming out around the same time in the 80s. Many of his other videos, such as “Beat It” and “Bad,” were also impressively cinematic. I know that Michael didn’t conceive the ideas behind these videos, but a superstar like that doesn’t just take a lasseiz faire attitude about something he will be appearing in. The dude clearly had talent and his influence was probably significant.
I’m not gonna drone on about the kid, but a couple of words are appropriate. Michael Jackson restructured the landscape of American popular music, and the culture that ran alongside it, in the early 1980s. Thriller captivated a nation and remains the second best selling album of all time. His talent as a songwriter and performer took him to heights seldom experienced by a figure in American pop music. He truly was one of the Beatles of his time.
It was sad to see him fall from grace with such bizarre behavior. Jackson became a big fat joke in American popular culture, something that was lampooned in every walk of life you could find on a daily basis. In film, television, music, literature, it was not only acceptable, but praiseworthy to make fun of the guy. We all must have made a Jackson joke at some point in the last decade. In some ways, it was just too easy.
Now that he is gone though, I hope the American public, and the world at large, will show some respect to the man’s memory. Being as famous as Michael Jackson was can’t be easy, and it is obvious that he wrestled with many demons on his journey into oblivion. I hope we can all focus on the good things that he did, and how happy he made us feel at certain moments. He may not have always been perfect, but I don’t think it is appropriate for his death to be seen as anything but a tragedy.
So to Ed, Farrah and Mike, this is Hans sending you and eternal “peace out.” May you find peace and happiness in the great big Star Search in the sky.