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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Life and Death

A subject that comes up with increasing frequency lately.When you are my age, and you come to see the bits of your childhood chipping away, you begin to feel a lot like a peeling garage that has broken windows, a leaky roof, and that one spot in the corner that you can see clear through.  Dick Clark is one of those that really took a lot of shingles off the roof.  Laurie told me last night about the death of Men At Work sax and flute man Greg Ham, who "was never the same" after a court found against him when the owners of the copyright to the kids' song Kookaburra said he lifted the flute riff on Down Under from it.  (If he'd have rapped on the song as well, they could have called it "sampling" and it would have been okay.)  Today I saw two more.  Recently I did a "where are they now" on Time Machine featuring Levon Helm and the Band.  Levon, the singer on the classic song The Weight, died today.  And so did someone else.

I grew up on Dark Shadows.  It soon came to interfere with the school schedule (I probably meant that the other way, but it's all in the priorities), and became a special treat on off days, summer vacation, and when DST blew the right way.  My sister and I never missed it when we had a chance.  And though vampires came and went, and more than one night was spent with blankets way up around my neck (but don't tell Mom, or I'd never get to watch again), one vampire never scared me.  Barnabas Collins.  Before I could read comics on my own, Daniel Boone, Matt Dillon, and Barnabas Collins were my super heroes.  Theirs were characters which transcended the shows. 

Jonathan Frid died last Friday- Friday the 13th, big surprise.  "I respected Dark Shadows from my first day of rehearsal to the point of awe," he wrote in 1988. "I was serious about Barnabas, one of the most complex characters I've ever played." The "roars of laughter" he heard from latter-day audiences at his earnest, genuine attempts to find the heart and soul of the melancholy vampire were hurtful. "For me," Frid wrote, "it was never intended to be camp." Dark Shadows, he felt, had become part of American folklore. To treat it with anything less than full respect would be a disservice, he felt, to the show and its fans.

  I agree.  Knowing that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are about to ruin it, just like the later prime time remake did, galls me.  Knowing that I have lost "my friend in the vampire business" disheartens me.  And to know that Jonathan is now with Jim Arness and Fess Parker frightens the hell out of me.

I talked about this way back on my Valley Of The Dolls post.  The circle closes tighter again.  Everything I knew is writing "Finis" at the top of the page and closing the book.

I never wanted to be old enough to watch all my heroes die.


  1. I feel like the paint is chipping away mostly when I listen to the radio and the prompter tells me that it was released in 83, and I could swear that it was only a few years ago.

    Course, I also think twenty years ago was 1982.

  2. I love and agree with your last line. Good post!

  3. Many times when I hear a song that I like and then hear that is was released way back when I will think bloody hell I am getting Not I said older not old I do not want to ever be

  4. The death of Greg Ham is so sad. He was too young really