Monday, May 26, 2008

A little dab/blog'll do ya...

Sad news in the world of comedy over the weekend came with the passing of comedian Dick Martin at age 86.  He was co-host of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In", along with the late Dan Rowan (who died in 1987), a show that caused great divide in our household.  My ultra-liberal sister Renee loved the show, but there was a constant battle between her and my ultra-conservative father over control of the TV on Monday nights.  He (and I) favored "Here's Lucy" and "Monday Night Football", so guess who won that battle most of the time...

As a small child, I just didn't get the whole "Laugh-In" thing, but flash ahead a decade later when I first got cable TV in the Summer of '84 when WGN out of Chicago aired "Laugh-In" reruns at 2:30 in the morning, and I found myself hooked by this crazy show.  The jokes were a bit dated, but I still got them, and I loved the veritable potpourri of personalities on the show, like Arte Johnson and Ruth Buzzi, as well as my personal favorite, Judy Carne.  Dick Martin played Jerry Lewis to Dan Rowan's Dean Martin (no relation), and he was brilliantly goofy in that role.  He looked rather sqaure, but he could be as bawdy as Benny Hill at times.  Oddly enough, Dick Martin was three months older than my old man, and a whole lot hipper!  Say goodnight, Dick...

First impressions don't always last, as "Laugh-In" proves rather mightily, in my case.  I'm also currently watching the first season of "Ren & Stimpy" on DVDa show I thought was total crap when it first came out, but now I find myself celebrating "Yak Shaving Day" annually.  Here's a little compilation of that which I was initially put-off by or unimpressed with that I now love (or at least embrace)...

Ozzy Osbourne
Bruce Springsteen
Shooting Star
Kiss (yes, it's true!)
Billy Joel
The Rainmakers
Fleetwood Mac

"Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In"
"Ren & Stimpy"
"Barney Miller"
"Empty Nest"
"Beavis & Butt-Head"

Thanks to the beloved innovation known as the iPod, my personal little pocket radio station played three songs in succession the other day that I'm positive have never been played (in succession) ever before in the history of mankind:  "Walking In L.A."-Missing Persons, followed by "The Big Beat"-Fats Domino, followed by "Smooth Dancer"-Deep Purple.  If nothing else, this gives a pretty good idea of how eclectic my musical tastes can be...

Stuff like these old walkways that led to the upper deck seats, like this one at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.  Ramps like these almost made you feel like you were walking the plank to get to your seats.  Old Municipal Stadium here in Kansas City had ramps similar to this one, and it was a total trip to a little kid like me to look down and see all those people in the lower deck looking up at us as we traipsed across the ramp.

Another thing about old stadiums I love are the light towers, like these at Detroit's Tiger Stadium.  Big and bulky, to be sure, but they illuminated the ballpark like nothing else could.  These same banks of lights were part of the opening title sequence to "Monday Night Football" in the early '70s, and I always thought they were the coolest things.  The old "toothbrush"-style light towers like those found at old Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and Municipal Stadium here in K.C. were awesome too.  Nice to see them replicated in new stadiums like PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Jacobs Field in Cleveland.

And then there was how some parks would allow fans to exit via the warning track through the outfield wall, like in this pic from Forbes Field in the '60s.  Old Municipal Stadium here in K.C. allowed patrons to do the same thing in the early '70s, and what a thrill it was for this youngsta to traipse through the bullpen on the left field line.  Yes, I realize they let the kids run the bases at Kauffman Stadium nowadays after Sunday Royals home games, but that's hardly the same thing.  Long live the old ballparks...

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