R.I.P. Ken Ober – I first encountered Ken Ober back in the early days of MTV, when it was actually strange for them to do something that didn’t involve music videos. The game show craze was making a comeback thanks to cable television’s insatiable thirst for content, and this oddball variation on a theme called Remote Control was an early hit for the network. Basically it was a trivia show designed to look like it was hosted in a suburban basement, with three contestants seated in recliners using remote control devices. It wasn’t so much the competition or even the subject matter (answering questions about television and pop culture) but it was the way they were dismissed off the showwhen they lost that was classic! It also was my first exposure to the great Colin Quinn.
R.I.P. Edward Woodward, the Equalizer – Thinking back, how odd was it to have a literate vigalante-for-hire show be a success? Then again, a careful look at the programs of the day proves how little we observe about life at the moment we’re wallowing in it. But here was an accredited Shakespearian actor playing a smarter Baretta and championing the underdog. I’m not minimizing Woodward’s massive resume, but Robert McCall struck a chord. Probably the same reason I enjoyed David Morse and Andre Braugher – two of the finest actors walking the planet – on Hack. (Although as far as I know, their characters didn’t purposely kill people. Nor did they have Robert Mitchum (!) step in to cover for them when they were out ill…)
R.I.P. Kevin Knox – I’ll pass this along as a third person reference, since I didn’t know him personally. But I have spoken with a lot of comedians over the years, and there is a fraternal bond for those who deserve it. By all accounts this was a righteous and unselfish guy as well as a good comedian. You learn a lot about people when they are down for the count with their backs against the wall, and apparently Kevin’s battle with cancer just reaffirmed what his friends in Boston and beyond knew all along. And to think of the dozens of times I walked past Dick’s Beantown Comedy Vault at Remington’s, right in the heart of the Emerson College campus, and I never got to see him.
Life is short. Savor every moment. Enjoy every sandwich.