Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Good bye to Tom Poston

I heard earlier today of Tom Poston's death. He was 85. Who? I suppose some of you younger folks have no idea who Tom Poston was.

Tom Poston has been on the boob tube on and off since 1950 and as recently as last year. My first notice of him came as a "man on the street" on the Steve Allen Show. He was the sleepy, dim witted one. Other "men on the street" were Louie Nye as Gordon Hathaway, the smarmy used car salesman type wearing the full Cleveland, the perennially terrified Don Knotts, Dayton Allen (not related to Steve) always answering questions with an index finger pointed skyward, and his mouth twisting into his extended Whyyyy Not? As I recall, Bill Dana as Jose Jiminez came a bit later. There were others, but the above were the first. Now, all but Dana are dead including Steve Allen.

After the Allen show Poston made appearances in any number of series and other shows over several years. He came back in rare form as the maintenance man at the Vermont inn on Newhart. His deadpan humor was often dead on with Newhart as the foil. He was just a funny man.

My father rebuilt the closet space in the bedroom of my brother and I back in the mid '50s which included a recess for a small TV. My brother and I used to watch the Allen show on Saturday nights lying in our beds. We loved it. Steve Allen's yelling "Smock, smock!!, and his falsetto laugh were hilarious and the laugh infectious. It could be set off at a whim. At times he couldn't stop. The "man on the street" bit was the best part of the show and Allen would enjoy it as much as we did. Our parents thought the show was nuts.

I often think of all those guys, now gone. Poston may have been the best, and certainly was the most enduring of all of them. I'll really miss seeing him on the idiot box.



Terra said...


Just wanted to let you know of a 3 (?) degrees of separation moment that I had when reading your post. I'm not old enough to remember Steve Allen. But, I used to work with his son. Someone told me "who he was" at one point and I had to look it up. ;) I just thought that was interesting. Small world...

Terry S said...

It is a small world in may ways. The "Old Steverino" was really great in his heyday, and Tom Poston was a part of that.

It's interesting that you had that contact. I suppose we all have our moments, not exactly our 15 minutes of fame, but close. We rub elbows with people from all walks as they say.

My son went to Northwestern U and a classmate of his was one of Meryl Streep's daughters.

A nephew of mine was an intern on the Charlie Rose show in NYC for one summer. Part of his job was to greet the guests, show them to the "green room," get them coffee or whatever and walk them onto the set at the appropriate time. He met quite a collection of people during that little stint.

Life is fun.

Hope you are well.