15 August 2010
Thursday/August/19 2010 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
There was something especially sad about the recent passing of Gary Coleman.
Though a talented entertainer, some portion of his celebrity was inextricably linked to the fact that he was a man-child of sorts.
A hormonal condition kept his adult persona in a body that we perceived -- and chose to continue to believe far longer than we should -- was that of an adolescent.
Gary Coleman's general situation was shared by at least two other actors during the mid-20th century.
Most Baby Boomers knew Walter Tetley as the voice of the red-haired and bespectacled Sherman, Mr. Peabody's pet boy on the animated Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
Though Walter was in his mid-forties at the time, Sherman certainly sounded like a 12 year old.
Like Gary Coleman, Walter was affected by a condition that limited the natural growth and maturation process. Walter's body never transitioned through puberty.
The generation preceding the Boomers had already been introduced to Walter as the voice of Leroy, the precocious nephew on the Great Gildersleeve radio show in the 1940's.
During the same decade, Walter also voiced the comic radio character Julius Abruzzio, the delivery boy on the Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show.
Julius was, as a teenager, the oldest of Walter's most well known characters.
That gave him more room to maneuver. Played with a thick Brooklyn accent, Julius was a total wise-ass who traded insults with Phil and was lust-struck for Phil's wife Alice.
Walter tried to make the jump from radio star to movie star but the breach was too great.
His child-like voice and the face moviegoers saw on the screen just did not mesh.
Walter was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in 1971 and was wheelchair-bound until his death four years later. There are reports that after the accident he lost his home and lived out his final days alone in a trailer.
Check out some of Walter's hilarious radio work at OTR.net one of the premier old time radio sites.
Baby Boomers know the voice of Dick Beals, though they probably haven't heard it for a long time.
Dick sang the Plop Plop Fizz Fizz jingle as Speedy Alka-Seltzer. He was also the voice of both Gumby and Davey of Davey and Goliath.
Like Walter Tetley, Dick never experienced puberty and the resultant deepening of his voice.
None of this appears to have slowed Dick down, however. Though 4 feet 7 inches tall and weighing less than 70 pounds, he's often a guest at Old Time Radio conventions, does motivational speaking and was a licensed pilot.
These days, he spends time relaxing on his yacht, appropriately christened, Think Big.
Wednesday/August/18 2010 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
I love the art in general, I have the music as hobby and the painting as profession.
As told to Apocalypzia in November 2009
We've said it before and we'll say it again. When we grow up we want to be Sinval Fonseca.
Sinval is the true renaissance man of the creative arts. Painter, musician, singer -- he does it all.
It's been awhile since we featured him so we showcase him today, doing that which he does best.
Tuesday/August/17 2010 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
After Batman, Before Tonight, Before Late Night
Long before he battled with Jay Leno over NBC's Tonight Show, Conan O'Brien was a television writer and producer, and was one of the brains behind the long-running Fox hit, The Simpsons.
During his producer days, he and Robert Smigel (more about him later) shot a pilot for a TV comedy called Lookwell.
The very funny premise -- a has-been over-the-top actor assisting the police in solving crimes -- was a perfect fit for the show's star, the post-Batman Adam West.
The pilot aired on NBC in the summer of 1991 but the show was passed over by the network.
That's too bad, in retrospect. By making the successful transition from a serious actor to a comedic actor, Adam West -- and Leslie Nielsen for that matter -- has done so well what William Shatner has made a lot of money doing but has yet to perfect, IOHO.
Here's the Lookwell pilot, if you'd like to check it out.
Robert Smigel, Conan's partner in crime on Lookwell, has a pretty impressive resume on his own.
As a writer on Saturday Night Live, Smigel helped to pull that show back from the cancellation brink in 1986. He is perhaps best known, though, for his puppet character, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
Hey, here's an idea for a TV pilot. Don Rickles and his pet dog, Triumph. What do you think?