I watched a lot of TV as a child. Too much, it now seems to me. But what’s done is done, and for better or for worse, it was the dominant medium of my youth.
Two of my very favorite shows in those days were Gilligan’s Island and The Partridge Family. And two of the main characters–one from each show–passed away today. It’s the most unusual death pairing I can think of since Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.
First, the Professor. He was the straight man to the screwball antics of Gilligan and the Skipper, and I always thought of him as the calm within the storm on the Island. There’s only Ginger and Mary Ann left still with us now, and their times are coming too. But Russell Johnson added something to the show, and I’m glad that he was there. It would have been less of a show without him, somehow.
And then there’s Reuben Kincade. He was kinda sleazy before I even knew what that term meant, but he seemed right at home alongside Danny Bonaduce. They weren’t the prettiest ones on the show, but they were good for laughs, and that’s why I watched the show in the first place.
Time goes on, and more and more of the actors and singers and other artists that I watched and listened to and knew about in my youth will reach the end of the road. It’s worth taking a few moments to acknowledge their contributions when they do. Making people laugh is a great thing, and both of these actors did that for me. And I’m grateful to them for that.