Thursday, June 25, 2009

Icons Gone

It has been a rough week for icons.

I remember sitting up way too late when I was in grade school, watching Johnny Carson. Hearing "Here's Johnny," signaled the beginning of my evening when I could enjoy some alone time and late night TV. Even then I wasn't a good sleeper. My mom eventually gave up trying to make me sleep and let me go - as long as I got up the next morning. Johnny Carson was a staple of my childhood. And there by his side, always, was Ed. It was the ultimate friendship played out before our eyes every night. Ed went on to other gigs, but he will always remain the best friend.

When Farrah Fawcett came on the scene as one of Charlie's Angels, she was a phenomenon. Anyone my age - male or female - remembers the famous poster and the famous hair. Many of us had "feathered" hair and there was one reason - Farrah. Of course, while most of us could get some semblance of the hair, the flawless face and body didn't come with it. Pity. After leaving the show, she shut up the critics by demonstrating she was more than a body and showed off her acting talent.

Michael Jackson was an innovator in the music business. Thriller remains one of the most successful videos ever made. People said it was ridiculous, that it wouldn't get played because it was too long. I tuned in to watch the world premiere of it and so did millions of others. And every time I catch it, I stop and watch it because it's good. And dozens of other songs and videos are good too. Michael has had more than his share of troubles - I don't know what did or didn't happen - but he always seemed like a man who wanted to have a childhood a few decades too late. It's a shame he didn't get to have one as a child.

Anyone who's a child of the 70s and says they don't remember these three is lying.  We've all heard "Here's Johnny," we've all seen the poster, we can all hum a Michael Jackson tune. They all influenced our times - good or bad.

Loss of a public figure reminds us all of our own mortality. Sometimes we just don't care to be reminded of that, thank you very much. But, nonetheless, there it is. People are moaning why we're not spending time on twitter and facebook and elsewhere talking about North Korea and Iran and the wars. It's because those are nebulous threats to our existence. Getting cancer or dying unexpectedly with no warning are much more real. People feel a need to process. Good grief, let them process.

And, please, just for a change of pace, have a little respect. Regardless of what you thought of any of these people, let those who loved them from near and far have some time to grieve.

Ed - thanks for the laughs, Farrah - thanks for the style, Michael - thanks for the music.

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sigerson said...

Maybe Conan and Jay are every bit as good as Johnny, but everything seems bigger and better when you're a kid -- including "Tonight Show" hosts.

Michael Jackson was only 50. It's difficult when an icon dies and he's younger than me.

Patsy Terrell said...

Dave and Craig are my late night guys most of the time, but I think it was Johnny and Ed that got me in the habit of watching TV at that hour.

Fifty is way too young to go. So is 62 for that matter. Way too soon.