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.