Thursday, December 27, 2012


A couple of bigtime, landmark RIPs: first, to quintessential American character actor (and war hero) Charles Durning, passed on at 89.

Out of his countless memorable moments onscreen, in films ranging from The Sting to Dog Day Afternoon to Starting Over to Tootsie to The Muppet Movie to True Confessions to When a Stranger Calls to Dark Night of the Scarecrow to O Brother, Where Art Thou? and more, he may never have put on a show of equal parts performing skill and joy as this one, from 1982’s The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Few actors ever do. Watch it, if you want to smile.

The Wife and I were lucky enough to see Durning live, at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix in 1998, in a touring production of The Gin Game, with Julie Harris. We were also lucky enough to see Jack Klugman live, opposite Tony Randall, in a touring production of The Odd Couple in the early ‘90s, benefitting The National Actors Theater. Klugman, who passed on Christmas Eve at 90, had already lost a vocal cord to cancer by then, but even rasping out the role of Oscar Madison, he was clearly audible throughout Gammage Auditorium, and his warmth and vigor came through perfectly.

This New Year’s Eve marks the 34th anniversary of the death of the one-of-a-kind comic artist Basil Wolverton, so...

Monster-of-the-Week: …let’s give the nod to this particularly smug representative of The Brain Bats of Venus, a Wolverton story from a 1952 issue of Mister Mystery

A Happy, Safe, Prosperous New Year from Monster-of-the-week!

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