Saturday, January 20, 2007

So long, Mr. Harbor Master

Was very saddened to learn today of the death of former Mamas & Papas singer Denny Doherty at age 66 from kidney failure.  John Phillips always seems to get the lion's share of the credit for that group's success, but Doherty was the unsung hero here.  He was a very underrated vocalist--it was his voice you heard most prominently on all their hits harmonizing with Cass Elliot and Michelle Phillips, while John Phillips sang mostly backing vocals.

I refer to Denny as the "Harbor Master" because that's the character he played on this quirky little PBS kids program called "Theodore Tugboat".  When I was working evenings back in the late '90s, I often caught the show in the mornings while doing housework and such, and found it to be a total hoot.  Doherty voiced all the characters on this live action animated show featuring these little boats that talked and tooled around this miniature city.  It was rather inventive, and got its point across to kids without losing its cool and/or being so condescending to kids like that "Barney" and "Teletubbies" drivel.

R.I.P., Denny, you done good...