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Smells Like Old Spirit November 10, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Movies, Pop Culture Rants.

I felt a twinge of sadness today while watching E! And no it wasn’t the three part expose into the musical future of the Black Eyed Peas, who promised me and America that their music was to return to its’ roots of political change disguised as money grubbing pop. No, it was the tiny crawl across the bottom of the screen. JACK PALANCE HAS DIED.

I’ll admit I always had an affinity for Mr. Palance. His role in the Marisa Tomei scandal withstanding, the man simply knew how to act. Sure, every one of his role was as a grizzled , oily evil rancher with heart, but does anybody rip on Wolfgang Puck for making nothing but pizza? Didn’t think so. I also admired the man for never committing to the stereotype of getting dentures and stuck by his teeth in his later years as they morphed into nothing more than something that looked like 40 candy corns jammed into his gums. And I still admire that the man changed a generation of smokers by giving them hope in the voice-over business with his emphysema tinged readings of “Believe It….(deep, panicked wheezing) OR NOT.”

But my sadness wasn’t for him today. It was for myself. Because I had already come to grips with his death. Yup, I was almost positive he died three or four years ago. And today, I was forced to deal with my feelings all over again. And for that, I wag my finger and bow my head in the same manner a frustrated mother chides her child when they take the last Twinkie. I shame on you, Hollywood. For not publicizing the decrepit and elderly actors before they die.

As most of us do, I get my sadness in during the Oscars. You know the section. They bring out an actor who is known for being morose and depressing (Jim Caviezel, David Schwimmer, the cast of Jackass!) and have him say something touching as he turns his head back towards the video screen. Then we all see it. The long list of people who have passed in the prior year. And it becomes like a high school graduation. As the names are rattled off, the audience cheers for the names they recognize or were popular then go silent when they announce that the costume designer of Gigi died in February. But not just that, it gives us all the chance to think one of two things: First is the usual “Wow, I didn’t know he died” or second, what I felt today, “He just died?”

I understand there are thousands of actors who are hanging on to life like Andrew Ridgely is hanging on to the hopes of a Wham! Reunion. When a celebrity dies young, it plasters itself across the pages and screens of every media outlet possible. It provides countless opportunities for bloggers to discuss the great things they had accomplished. For me, it does two things: It takes up valuable pages away from my US Weekly and it even takes up time on Dateline NBC, meaning I don’t get the chance to see a tall, thin cookie cutter reporter read deadpan renditions of explicit e-mails in To Catch A Predator. (There is no greater joy than hearing a man, in perfectly trained diction say, “I Want To Lick You Up and Down”.)

I was sad today because I had to relive my issues involving a world with no Jack Palance all over again. I was sure he may have been the single reason why our society, nay, our planet was in the crapper. Without him, we had nobody to point at and say, “See, that’s a man’s man…Yes, a man’s man having his diaper changed and his food fed to him by a nurse in a short skirt, but a man nonetheless.” And this world needs man’s men. Now we REALLY have lost him. And again, I am forced to cry.

With all the reality TV shows being plastered across our screens, it would be simple to take a few seconds out of your broadcasts, TV stations, and show us a few shots of the elderly actors, doing elderly things. It would make me happy to see Zelda Rubinstein playing Bocce or Seymour Cassel washing his car in a wifebeater and flip-flops. And think of the ratings bonanza when we watch Jackie Mason chasing kids off his lawn with a pushbroom. And not only would we be watching, we’d be sighing. Sighing because we know the world is still safe, knowing there is a kvetching Jewfroed old man still making us realize that Christians and Jews think differently. And if the world doesn’t need that now more than ever!

SO please, check in on them once in a while and let us know. America is like the pseudo-caring child with their elderly actors in the home. We need you to be the nurse, checking on them once in a while and just letting us know they’re okay. We’re not going to visit them, though. Unless they steal candy or something. Like Abe Vigoda in Look Who’s Talking.

Wait a second, Abe Vigoda? Still alive? Whew, life just got a little brighter today.



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