Tuesday, June 03, 2008

They Left The World A Better Place

Some very talented people died recently--all who have added their fabulous essences to the pop culture brew. My condolences to their families and friends.

I admit, for me Bo Diddley was a name from the distant past. I only appreciate his amazing rhythm guitar and super badass energy now that he's gone.

Harvey Korman looked like a guy in middle management who turns out to be absolutely insane at the after-hours office gathering. I used to beg my parents to let me stay up late to see The Carol Burnett Show, which was not just a vehicle for her very funny antics (the catharsis at seeing a woman make fun of herself on national television has never left me), but a weekly ensemble showcase of satiric lunacy. Much of it due to Harvey Korman.

In the 70s our household was a test market for early HBO cable and so we got to see a lot of films as often as we wanted (thus building their "cult" status). One that we still revere: Blazing Saddles. Still funny! Still offensive! Much owed to Harvey Korman's humor of frustration as Hedley Lamarr. He seemed to be channeling every rogue villain ever created in U.S. entertainment history into this one dastardly and ridiculous character.

Earle Hagen composed and whistled the theme to The Andy Griffith Show. How many of us have found ourselves whistling this tune while taking out the trash, sweeping the front porch, or just trying to get to the Oakland Airport at rush hour? Countless many.

Alexander "Sandy" Courage penetrated our minds as few composers have by creating the original Star Trek theme song. He worked on hundreds of other projects, but this one stands out: eerie, spacey, 60s-ish but still effective.

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