"The Rosato Stone!"
Or my encounters with Tony Rosato.
I first mentioned Mr. Rosato back here in an animated version of his old Second City routine when he played Lou Costello. I first saw this sketch in the early 80's when he was on SCTV and little did I know that our paths would cross in the future. (I'm pretty sure I also saw him on stage in the 80's at the Old Firehall, but don't quote me on that one.)
In the mid-90's, BigBob & I were off to see a movie down at the Market Square on Front Street and before the movie decided to have a pint or 3 at the Jersey Giant. While there, I bumped into and struck up a conversation with Tony Rosato. I said, "Hi, Tony" in such a way that he assumed we were old pals and he cordially conversed with me for about 10 minutes, at one point asking me if we'd ever met before. We bid our farewells and a more charming and funny guy you couldn't find. Sure enough, he attended the same movie that we did and I could hear his raucous laughter often (I suspect it was a comedy, but it may not have been.) Coincidentally, sitting elsewhere was "Wudy the Wabbit" or Chris Makepeace, the kid from Meatballs. I didn't chat with him. I bumped into Tony again in another bar afterwards and I approached him again to tell him that we had met before, though I doubt if he'd have remember it. Back in the 80's in my "struggling actor" days, I did some extra work in a few episodes of Night Heat and I told him that we may have crossed paths before. He chuckled at that and then we did go our separate ways.
Little did I know that the witty and friendly guy of the mid-90's would end up in jail and that unfortunately over the last 2 years, a raving loony is what the world would become to think of Tony. The ubiquitous blogger, Mark Evanier first linked to this story and has been following his case closely since. The most recent news of a man who has been jailed unjustly for over 2 years has almost reached its conclusion. Whether he gets the psychiatric help he desperately needs is yet to be seen, but I'll always remember him as the funny guy on SCTV, as Whitey from Night Heat, as the guy who has cropped up in pretty much every Canadian-filmed tv show over the last 20 years and as the guy I had a few words with in the Jersey Giant.
Kudos to you Mr. Rosato.