Monday, February 27, 2006

Dying TV Guys

In the last couple of days three old TV guys have passed on to the next realm. (As to what that is, well, this and hundreds of other sites are at least partly dedicated to figuring that out.) Yesterday Darrin McGavin, Don Knots and today I heard that Dennis Weaver have shuffled off their mortal coils. I guess none of them would really qualify as icons. McGavin was always kind of a second stringer in the title role on Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer and later as Kolchak on the original Night Stalker. Many will remember Knotts from 3s Company which I never watched, but, of course, his main claim to fame was his stint on The Andy Griffith Show as the bumbling Barney Fife. Fewer will remember Knott's first real exposure on The Steve Allen Show as the nervous, bug eyed "man on the street." Dennis Weaver's most memorable role was his rather short lived tenure on the original Gunsmoke as the hobbling Chester Goode. (Remember him awkwardly running along a wooden sidewalk yelling "Mr. Dillon, Mr. Dillon.") Of course, he later managed a fairly long running modern day western/detective series, McCloud. He was, some may not remember, the beleaguered traveler in Steven Spielberg's directorial debut, Duel about the homicidal semi.

All three appeared in countless TV and film roles during the course of their respective careers. None were ever true headliners. But, man. All three of these guys were a part of the fabric of early American TV. A good deal of the work they did, would be considered by today's standards stilted and obvious. But at the time, back in the '50s and '60s, they were progenitors of those standards. .

Actually, probably the best actor of the three, McGavin was also the least well known. Again, his stuff was never quite "A" list, even for network TV. Often, Mike Hammer and the later Night Stalker ran on less vital Friday or Saturday nites. But Gunsmoke and later McCloud were always pretty much "A" list shows as were Andy Griffith and 3s Company. They were three of the many faces that one expected to see on a nightly basis on the television shows I grew up with.

I will miss Chester, Barney and Mike.



jazzycat said...

We have really enjoyed the Andy Griffith show DVD's that we recently bought. I think ole Barney Fife was the premier character of early television.

Terry S said...

I saw your Andy Griffith post. I know that the show harkened back to a time that never really existed, but I watched it with some regularity. Barney was the catalyst that gave the show its zing. My dad loved it. Barney especially.

I remember an episode wherein a prison escapee, who had vowed vengeance on Barney, had returned to Mayberry. Andy and Barney were out chasing the guy. Andy left Barney in one position to look out for the guy who eventually snuck up behind him. Andy did something to get Barney's attention and Barney turned with gun drawn (and presumably with his one bullet locked & loaded) in time to catch the guy. Of course Barney was scared silly and had been stuffing chewing gum into his mouth. He was as surprised to see the bad guy behind him as the guy was to have Barney catch him.

When Andy asked how he was, Barney just stood there stunned saying "I swallowed my gum." I remember my dad nearly rolled on the floor laughing.

I just read a story about Don Knott's passing that said something to the effect that Knott's adams apple had a life of its own. He was an original.


Gregg100 said...

I just want to check in and make the connection to your blog and a fellow secularist. It is pleasant to have more to talk about that philosphy and I enjoyed the post on the walkathon. My wife walked one along the coast in Northern California near Monterey. It was only a 10K but for her that was a serious achievement and I'm proud of her for doing it. It was for charity. I enjoy walking too and have a 3.5 mile loop that I do three days a week and then my wife and I spend an hour in the gym two days a week working on balance, strength and flexibility.

I really like the way Agnostic Mom organized the secular sites into philosophers, ranters and watch dogs. I have always thought the same thing but never put it down on paper. I'm in lockstep with her conclusions too. There is just about nothing for the practical person to use on a day to day basis and there is so much opportunity to do so many really useful things on and off the net. Her example of writing secular children's books is a great one.

I think you may be a little ahead of me on blogging but I'll get there. It is discouraging to talk to one's self though. My conclusion is that we need to keep pressing on. It would be interesting to know what made her blog site catch on.

Terry S said...


Great to hear from a new voice. I've read your posts on Noell's site. I think we are largely in agreement about most of the issues we are concerned with.

Noell indicated that she spread the word about her blog by simply doing what you have done. Finding other sites of interest, reading and making comments and linking back to your own work.

I still don't have what you'd call a large readership, certainly nothing like Agnostic Mom's. Actually, I'm not sure I could keep up with it, if this site became very popular.

My nephew has a site (not concerning religion/atheism) which has a huge following. He gets something like 200 hits a day. Each of his posts usually garner 15 or 20 comments. He is a good writer and it is usually a pleasure to read his stuff. I show the link to his site on my margin -"Look I'm So Important. . . "

I hope to further our communication as we go along.


Terry S said...


Hey, I just realized that we have already communicated. I didn't realize that you changed your screen name from "over2u." Duh!

I have read your entries as you have probably noted. You have delved more deeply into the philosophical end of things than I have. I have just started reading "The Blind Watchmaker." Dawkins seems to be a very readable writer. I recently read Sam Harris' book, "The End of Faith" which, I think, is very good.

Are you familiar with the book, "Radical Evolution?" It is concerned with cutting edge technology and its implications on how it is likely to affect being human. Having worked in the science/technology side of things, I wonder what take you would have on it. Some of the things discussed regarding developments in genetic engineering, nano and computer technology seem amazing, but I wonder if it's not still more "pie in the sky" than being on the verge of reality as some suggest.