Sunday, October 30, 2011

halloween now and then

My kids have never really experienced the kind of Halloween nights that I did as a kid.  I remember the Halloween Carnivals at R.A. Mitchell Elementary back in the sixties.  They call them Fall Festivals these days.  Mitchell actually owned a real coffin for their annual Halloween Carnival that was held behind the stage.  I also remember bobbing for apples.  People don't do that anymore, something about spreading germs.

Last night Gina and I took our eight year old to an event where they had a 'Candy Walk'.  Yes, it's a musical chair game in which you get a small piece of candy if you land on the chair with the right number.  There are festivals that have 'Cake Walks', but they don't give away cakes to those who land on the lucky number.  They get Little Debbies, Twinkies and the like.  Not bad mind you - but nothing like the Cake Walks of my youth.  We got real two layer cakes!  REAL CAKES!  I kid you not.

My kids don't have Trick or Treat either.  They don't go from house to house through out the night like we did.  I admit that I share part of the blame for this.  Trunk or Treat makes a parent feel safer.  I remember going into the night with my little Bela Legosi mask on.  My brother and sisters ventured into our neighborhood and beyond with our brown paper bags.  If the front porch light was on, we'd come a knocking.  Maybe it wasn't that safe back then, but we did it.  We'd Trick or Treat until porch lights had all been turned off.  We've return home only by the light of the street lamps.  I remember that creepy feeling walking home at night, dressed as monsters, but wondering if there were real monsters watching from the darkness of the landscape.

Being a parent, I don't feel it's a safe thing to do today.  Each year Gina and I will take our kids down a street or two so they can have a little bit of that experience.  Halloween Carnivals and bona-fide Trick or Treating isn't what it used to be.  What's left is still enjoyable for the little ones, but it lacks much of the thrill that I fondly recall.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

i heart hartman

Phil Hartman was a real funny guy.  I like real funny guys.

Phil had started out as a graphic designer, and had designed album covers for bands Poco and America.  My favorite  cover of his is the horse design of Poco's Legend album.  It is a simply beautiful piece of work.

Like Belushi, I am sorry about his tragic death.  I wish he'd been around longer.   I enjoyed his on appearances on television shows, the big screen, as well as commercials.  He was a unique talent that always brought something unique with him.  I never got enough of him. 

He once said that the one thing he could do
was voices, impersonations and weird characters, and that there was really no call for it except on Saturday Night Live.  I think Phil was right.  When he left SNL, his career didn't really take off like many of the other talented SNL alumni before him.  He was indeed among the SNL greats.  He was brilliant on News Radio.  As brilliant as he was there, we knew he could do so much more.

Phil Hartman was the class clown growing up. 
Hartman was the kind of guy that was fun to hang with.  He liked making people laugh, and I like people with that kind of heart.  He could do John Wayne, Jack Benny, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and entertain his friends. But he never seriously considered it as a career choice.  Opportunities just opened up as he sought out more creative outlets for his talent.  He ended up with The Groundlings and hooked up with Paul Reubens and helped him create his quirky PeeWee Herman character.  He ended up having a re-occurring character on PeeWee Playhouse. SNL soon followed.

Some people mourn the loss of famous singers and musicians like Elvis, but I'm one of those folks that miss the funny men.  I rate Phil up there among the funniest.

"I've succeeded beyond my wildest dreams - financially and the amount of fun I have in my life."
-Phil Hartman

Saturday, October 22, 2011

blue eyes in black & white

A lot of the old stars were still shinning bright in our youth. We were entertained by the best.