2008-01-20

Trio of Death!

Sad to report the death of one of my favourite character actors, Allen Melvin who the
obit states was most famous for his role as Sam on the Brady Bunch, though I remember him moreso as Barney on All in the Family. The ubiquitous funnyman cameoed in pretty much every sitcom in the 60's and Mark Evanier has a great anecdote about him. While watching pretty much any HB cartoon in the 60's & 70's, one could recognize his voice in the background. A few of his leads, included Magilla Gorilla, Drooper on The Banana Splits or the villainous Electro on Spider-man & His Amazing Friends. His voice was prevalant on Flintstones and others, but I'm going to embed this one, only because it shows a really racist portrayal of Atom Ant's adversary--Karate Ant. I'm not really sure who Melvin portrays, but it could be any of them (except for the eponymous insect.)



Another favourite of mine, Suzanne Pleshette, succumbed to cancer this week and though she'll be best remembered as Emily Hartley, I just loved her demise in Hitchcock's, The Birds. Her Japanese connection? Her very first role was in a Jerry Lewis movie called Geisha Boy and one of her last voice roles was as the characters Yubaba & Zeniba in the dub of Sento no Chihiro (Spirited Away.)

Don't blink or you'll miss her in this movie with her then-husband, Troy Donahue, though I was pleased to learn of her late marriage to the late Tom Poston in the 90's.

Though I can't dig up another dead actor this week, I'll throw in my two yen worth about Bobby Fischer. I was a half-assed chess player in High School (my buddy was the Canadian Chess Champ of '76) but we all admired Bobby when he beat Spassky. He's had a rather controversial life in his later years, including an arrest and detention in Japan for travelling with a false passport and engagement to Miyoko Watai. I'm recently playing a little chess again at school, though none of the students can beat me, a few have come close (since I give them a rook handicap.) There is NO way, I plan to challenge them to Shogi/GO, they are damn good!

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