February 27, 2013

My Heart Belongs to Jackie

Not only was yesterday (February 26) William Frawley's birthday, but it was also the 97th birthday of another favorite curmudgeon - Jackie Gleason!

I'll share with you an article I wrote devoted to Jackie from 2010 that originally appeared on my friend Less Lee Moore's terrific website, Popshifter.

My Heart Belongs to Jackie

February 26, 2013

Revisiting Fred Mertz

Today is actor William Frawley's 126th birthday.

It's especially interesting timing because over the past couple of months, Len and I have been watching all of the episodes of I Love Lucy on DVD and I have been giving Frawley's performance as Fred Mertz a lot of thought.

Season 2, "Job Switching"
Watching the show as a kid, I never paid much attention to Fred. I just thought of him as this grouchy, old, bald guy who kind of looked like a potato. I never gave him a second thought as I was too busy watching Lucy's cartoon antics, something that would obviously appeal more to a child. However, as I've gotten older and more appreciative of seasoned character actors, I began to realize that William Frawley is an absolute delight. I was shocked to realize that he is actually quite animated and his cutting remarks to Ethel are still really funny. Their bored, irritated relationship is still my favorite thing about the show (and clearly was the blueprint for my other favorite bored landlord couple - Stanley and Helen Roper from Three's Company).

In the episodes we've seen so far (we are watching them in order), Fred has performed old vaudeville routines, dressed in drag, pretended to be a burglar and kicked in a television set. He's incredible and I can't wait to see what new antics he will be up to next.

Fred and Ethel Zombies!

Note - I did skip ahead and watch a Season 5 episode called "The Great Train Robbery". It's really great, but my favorite bit is the running gag where Lucy keeps pulling the emergency brake on the train they are riding. Every time she does it, the Mertzes end up covered in food from the dining car. Slowly the Mertzes enter the scene covered in goop. They actually look like really terrifying - like zombies -with Fred looking exactly like an extra from Night of the Living Dead!

February 25, 2013

People, Places and Things

A couple of years ago my partner Len (aka Hilly Blue) and I were doing a weekly art project called "People, Places and Things". We wrote down an assortment of people's names, places and objects then randomly selected one each. In typical fashion, I lasted about eight weeks then gave up.

Here are the pieces I created:

Joyce Jameson, Grocery Store and a Vaccum Cleaner
Bela Lugosi, Airplane and a Kitten
David Bowie, Outer Space and a Vampire Bat
Lucille Ball, Spaceship and a Baby Crib 
Larry Hagman, Haunted House and a Flower
Orson Welles, Kitchen and Lasagna
William Shatner, Western Locale and a Bridge
The Three Stooges, Volcano and a Pillow

Always the devoted artist, my partner Hilly Blue, kept on creating his own "People, Places and Things". All of which can be viewed HERE.