Archive for the ‘Good-byes’ Category

Geeky Good-byes 2017 #4: 100 geek-related celebrity deaths in 2017

July 30, 2017

Geeky Good-byes 2017 #4: 100 geek-related celebrity deaths in 2017

The Measured Circle regularly covers the reported deaths of celebrities with geek-friendly credits.

Every one of them matters. One of the hallmarks of geeks is our inclusiveness: we recognize actors, directors, authors, and more who have connections with fictional works about things that are outside of consensus reality, as well as scientists, technologists, and others.

While we will unfortunately undoubtedly add additional celebrities to our

2017 Geeky Good-byes

we have just done the 100th listing for 2017.

We hope that some people take a few minutes to look at that list, to see the people who have contributed in ways large and small to our culture. Some of them have gotten mainstream coverage; others haven’t. In some cases, I’m able to do a full post (as I did in Adam West has reportedly died). I wish I could write posts for every single one of them, but that’s not possible. In this post, I will make comments on some people I haven’t address outside the listing yet.

I was particularly moved by the passing of June Foray, the legendary voice artist. With a career which lasted more than 70 years, it can’t be said that this was a surprise. However, the range and subtlety of her performances still astounds me. From Granny to Rocket J. Squirrel to Natasha Fatale to Talky Tina, Disney to Jay Ward to Warner Brothers, just her performances alone would be enough. However, behind the scenes, she advocated to get animation the respect that it deserves. That includes being influential in the creation of the Best Animated Feature Oscar, and founding the International Animated Film Society and the Annie Awards. In interviews, she always seemed genuinely nice. I recommend this one Beyond the Marquee interview.

While the mainstream tends to focus on actors, I was pleased to see Marty Sklar get coverage. I love theme parks (I had an idea for one, but I now think it might make a better virtual reality experience), and Disneyland wouldn’t be what it is without Imagineer Marty Sklar. Geeks can appreciate the combination of engineering and artistry, as well as being appreciated by the popular face of the organization.

Many people just think of George A. Romero and his first feature Night of the Living Dead, as just shocking gore, but that’s not the case at all. George Romero and John A. Russo’s script is really sophisticated and why the movie is so disturbing. I particularly enjoyed Martin, definitely one of his lesser-known works…which is really about the writing. It was also clear that he supported the community of amateur and up and coming filmmakers.

We thank them and all geeky creators for giving us a way to experience something which has never existed.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

Adam West has reportedly died

June 10, 2017

Adam West has reportedly died

So long, old chum.

I feel like Adam West was a friend, although I never met him.

For me, and many others, Adam West was Batman. Sure, he wasn’t purely, or even much, like Batman in the comics…but the 1966 TV series did have a big influence on the comics.

It was a huge hit, due in part to West’s clever, straight-faced portrayal. Allan Sherman referenced the popularity in his comedy song, “The Rebel”: “They even took Batman off the TV screen to show the rebel!”

West, though, was smart about the part. He didn’t disrespect it or the fans. He had reportedly been a Batman comics fan as a kid.

He would return to voice the character in a 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series (and others)…and was working on the latest animated Batman movie (with original co-stars Burt Ward and Julie Newmar) when he died (or at least, it was in post-production).

I also remember him literally sticking his tongue in his bat-cheek for the comedy superhero roast, Legend of the Superheroes in 1979 (which also had DC characters Green Lantern, Black Canary, Hawkman and more).

He played other characters in the Batman universe, including Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father.

While that would certainly be enough to put him in the geek pantheon, it was hardly his only geek-friendly work:

  • A very early uncredited role was a radio operator in the Boris Karloff movie, Voodoo Island
  • He played the supporting part of Colonel Dan McReady in 1964’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars (the first part is reminiscent of the recent hit movie, The Martian)
  • Many people still remember the “sand sharks” episode of the original The Outer Limits, “The Invisible Enemy”, with West again as an astronaut
  • He guest-starred on Bewitched…all of this was pre-Batman
  • He played Mr. Hyde on Night Gallery
  • He was in the TV movie The Eyes of Charles Sand
  • Christopher Lee played Lucifer in Poor Devil (featuring West)
  • He was the voice of Hercules in Shazam! (for a single episode)
  • Warp Speed (a TV movie) had Adam West voicing Captain Lofton; that same year saw him as a different character in Time Warp
  • He took a trip to Fantasy Island
  • 1987 saw Adam West in Zombie Nightmare
  • The next year, 1988, he was in Doin’ Time on Planet Earth
  • Adam West was the big name in Omega Cop, ushering in the 1990s
  • He was pseudonymously credited when he played “Hippy Guy” in the 1990s Flash TV series
  • When the Rugrats needed a Captain Blasto, they cast Adam West
  • 1993 saw him on Tales from the Crypt
  • Space Ghost interviewed him on Space Ghost Coast to Coast
  • Still supporting DC, he was Jerry Retchen on Lois & Clark
  • He voiced the Galloping Gazelle on Goosebumps (and the videogame)
  • An American Vampire Story? Adam West as The Big Kahuna
  • Johnny Bravo, Animaniacs, The Secret Files of the SpyDogs (where he was Dog Zero)…Adam West was busy doing voices in the 1990s
  • For Roger Corman’s Black Scorpion series, Adam West was The Breathtaker
  • The 2000s saw Adam West voicing characters on Kim Possible and Scooby-Doo, and as Mayor Adam West on Family Guy
  • 2004’s Monster Island had Adam West as “Dr. Harryhausen”
  • The 2000’s included Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, Sexina, and The Fairly OddParents
  • Amusingly, Adam West was the young Mermaid Man (a Batman-like parody) on SpongeBob SquarePants
  • This decade, he was in The Super Hero Squad as Nighthawk, Funny or Die, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Grand Theft Auto V, he was the announcer for the FanAddicts! TV series, was on Robot Chicken and The Big Bang Theory, as well as Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero
  • He was Chairman West in TV’s recently canceled Powerless, a series about people on the periphery when superheroes exist

He shared a TV Land Award for Favorite Crimestopper with Burt Ward, and got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was recognized by the mainstream, and beloved by geeks.

You will be missed, Adam West…thank you.


For more geeky good-byes for this year, see

2017 Geeky Good-byes


My current Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

 

 

 

Geeky Good-byes 2017 #3

May 19, 2017

Geeky Good-byes 2017 #3

2016 was noted by many people for the number of celebrities we lost. I looked at reasons why that might have been true (and might continue to be true) in

2016: the Year the Stars Went Out?

while at the same time looking at previous history.

This year, I’m tracking it more closely in

2017 Geeky Good-byes

At the time of writing, I’ve made 70 entries just for 2017.

That page is really just a listing, without much narrative.

I’m taking this post to look at a few who really stand out to me. That isn’t to diminish anyone else: we geeks honor everyone who has every done a geek-friendly part or created a geek-friendly work.

Jack H. Harris

You don’t have to be in front of the camera to be a geek star. Jack Harris produced the original Blob…and returned to the property three more times. 4D Man, Equinox, and Dinosaurus! are three more low budget movies, but Harris also understood the genre well enough to be involved with two loving satires: John Landis’ Schlock and John Carpenter & Dan O’Bannon’s Dark Star…helping to launch truly significant careers.

Don Rickles

Boris Karloff, Peter Cushing…and Don Rickles? You might not think of the insult comic as being a geek icon, but his career is surprisingly geek-friendly. Certainly, Mr. Potato Head has become part of the Disney pantheon, but he was also a “regular” in the beach party movies (including one with martians), which often had a fantasy element (Eric Von Zipper, the recurring bad guy had supernatural powers). People also clearly liked to work with him, which meant he had guest spots on shows from The Munsters to I Dream of Jeannie to the original The Twilight Zone to Get Smart.

Tim Pigott-Smith

An award-winning actor, Tim Pigott-Smith had an unmistakable presence on screen. There was no question that he could make a scene and illuminate a movie, which led to him working with such famous filmmakers as Ray Harryhausen, Tim Burton, and the Wachowskis.

It stood out to me recently that at least four people who have appeared in Marvel movies/TV shows have died this year (Bill Paxton, Lola Albright, Lorna Gray, and Powers Boothe). That might be a surprise because it may seem like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is fairly recent, but Lorna Gray was in the 1944 Captain America sequel (which wasn’t very faithful to the material) and Lola Albright was in the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno TV series of The Hulk in the 1980s…and her episodes were on more than 35 years ago. DC has lost at least six: Francine York, Dick Gautier, Miguel Ferrer, John Hurt, Bruce Lansbury, and Powers Boothe (Boothe was Gideon Malick on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and voiced Lex Luthor,  Red Tornado, and Gorilla Grodd.

The geek community will remember their contributions: we never forget our own.


My current Amazon Giveaways

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

 

Geeky Good-byes February 2017

March 17, 2017

Geeky Good-byes February 2017

2016 was noted by many people for the number of celebrities we lost. I looked at reasons why that might have been true (and might continue to be true) in

2016: the Year the Stars Went Out?

while at the same time looking at previous history.

This year, I’m tracking it more closely in

2017 Geeky Good-byes

At the time of writing, I’ve made 36 entries just for 2017, and 9 in February. Unfortunately, I may add more…we sometimes don’t hear about deaths right away.

That page is really just a listing, without much narrative.

I’m taking this post to look at a few who really stand out to me. That isn’t to diminish anyone else: we geeks honor everyone who has every done a geek-friendly part or created a geek-friendly work.

Richard Hatch

We salute you, Captain Apollo. Richard Hatch was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal on the original Battlestar Galactica in 1978, and would later appear on the reboot about three decades later as Tom Zarek. Other appearances include Kung Fu, and he appeared as “Richard Hatch” on The Guild, demonstrating his friendliness to the community.

Bruce Lansbury

There would be a big hole in our television geek culture history without the producing talents of Bruce Lansbury. Starting in the 1960s with The Wild Wild West, continuing into the 1970s with Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and on into the 1980s with Knight Rider (and these are just a few of the best known ones), we were on a rollicking ride that was always fun while never lapsing into mockery.

Neil Fingleton

While his career and life were unfortunately short (dying at the age of 36), Neil Fingleton was recognized as the tallest man in the UK at 236 cm (7 feet 7 inches). Appearing in X-Men, The Avengers, Doctor Who, and Game of Thrones (as Mag the Mighty), geeks will be watching this former basketball player (an injury changed his career path from sports to acting) for decades to come.

We regret their passing (and those of the others on the Geeky Good-byes page), and thank them and those closest to them for their contributions to our lives and the lives of geeks to follow.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Geeky Good-byes January 2017

February 8, 2017

Geeky Good-byes January 2017

2016 was noted by many people for the number of celebrities we lost. I looked at reasons why that might have been true (and might continue to be true) in

2016: the Year the Stars Went Out?

while at the same time looking at previous history.

This year, I’m tracking it more closely in

2017 Geeky Good-byes

At the time of writing, I’ve made 19 entries just for January 2017. Unfortunately, I may add more…we sometimes don’t hear about deaths right away.

That page is really just a listing, without much narrative.

I wanted to take this post (and I may do one once a month) to a look at a few who really stand out to me. That isn’t to diminish anyone else: we geeks honor everyone who has every done a geek-friendly part or created a geek-friendly work.

Dick Gautier

I was surprised that Dick Gautier didn’t get more mainstream coverage. He was an author and a stand-up, and was nominated for a Tony in 1961. He appeared frequently on TV, including game shows. For geeks, though, he may be best-known as Hymie, the KAOS robot who becomes a CONTROL robot (not unlike Rogue One’s K-2SO, without the snark). Gautier was an unusual combination of being traditionally attractive, and yet funny and comfortable with geek-friendly roles (he would also voice characters for The Transformers and G.I. Joe…for more details, see that Geeky Good-byes page: 2017 Geeky Good-byes).

William Peter Blatty

Blatty was the bestselling author of The Exorcist, based on a real case, and the basis for one some still consider to be the most frightening movie of all time. He also wrote The Ninth Configuration and Legion, but I want to call attention to I’ll Tell The I Remember You, which was more of a memoir. I have a couple of quotations from it in my book of quotations, The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile*). It shows more of his philosophy.

John Hurt

John Hurt was one of those rare actors who had both mainstream success and respect (including two Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe win) and a range of geek-friendly roles. The latter include one of the most referenced scenes in movies (in Alien), 2013’s Snowpiercer, the H*llboy movies, more than one Harry Potter movie as Mr. Ollivander, 1984, Watership Down, and more.

We regret their passing (and those of the others on the Geeky Good-byes page), and thank them and those closest to them for their contributions to our lives and the lives of geeks to follow.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

2016: the Year the Stars Went Out?

December 11, 2016

2016: the Year the Stars Went Out?

No question, there have been many sad losses of celebrities this year. For one thing, mainstream news has reported on several actors who played iconic geek-friendly roles…from Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) to Chekov (Anton Yelchin) to The Man Who Fell to Earth (David Bowie).

People have suggested that this is the worst year to date for celebrity deaths…what we could call “The Year the Stars Went Out”.

Is that the case, though?

Every death matters. It’s not a competition, and each person deserves individual attention.

However, I thought it was worth looking at this idea…I’m always reluctant to frame things in a negative way. Have more celebrities died this year? If that’s not the case, why is that perception there?

My first thought was that there have been other years…and not just recent ones. After all, the In Memoriam segment at the Oscars always takes some time.

The year that immediately occurred to me was 1977. I remembered offhand that Groucho Marx and Zero Mostel had both died in 1977, and that at the time, I noted that there were several other big stars. I speculated then that babies named after celebrities that year might have some odd names (not that I’m someone to speak about the oddness of someone’s name).

To refresh myself, I ran a search for celebrities with a “death year” of 1977 at IMDb:

Most Popular People With Date of Death in 1977 at IMDb

My recollection had been correct. Just from that list:

  • Elvis Presley…arguably, there are no bigger music stars
  • Bing Crosby: an iconic figure, a giant of music, then movies, and TV
  • Charlie Chaplin: a very nostalgic figure at the time
  • Groucho Marx
  • Zero Mostel
  • Joan Crawford
  • Ethel Waters
  • Howard Hawks
  • Andy Devine
  • Eddie “Rochester” Anderson
  • Freddie Prinze: a popular actor of the period, in the category of “dead too young”
  • Of more specifically geek interest were Richard Carlson, Allison Hayes, Jacques Tourneur, William Castle, and Henry Hull

That search returns more than 1,300 names (not all of which will be well-known).

Still, I would say that there was at least a higher public awareness of celebrities who died in 2016 than in 1977.

I think there may be three main reasons for that:

  1. Pop culture now has a much longer “shelf life” than it used to have. Thanks in part to the preservation and distribution enbaled by the internet (following television giving audiences the ability to see older movies, starting especially in the 1950s), people can easily see media which is one hundred years old, which wasn’t the case even twenty-five years ago. Electronic distribution of public domain works is very low cost. There are lots of sources. My own The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project is built on the concept of enjoying older media. When Andy Warhol popularized the idea that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes…” in 1968, the suggestion was that someone would be famous, and then not famous. Now, it’s much more that if you become famous, you will at least continue to be known to the public forever. See also You’re showing your age when you say, “You’re showing your age”.
  2. Geeks honor their own…and the vast majority of famous actors has a geek connection. Now that geeks are the mainstream (look at the most popular movies in any week), this tradition of ours to recognize actors who have had even a single credit or a small recurring role means that geek-friendly actors get a lot more respect than they used to get. Oscar winners always got coverage: that wasn’t the case with non-stars of geek-friendly TV shows, for example, but I’m now likely to see several articles on the passing of someone like that
  3. The multiplicity of media: there are 24 hour news channels, but also blogs and websites which specialize in geek topics…and those may be picked up by the mainstream

So, I do think part of it is perception…and that perception will continue next year. We will hear about the deaths of stars of the 1960s, 1950s, earlier, and also later. The news media will cover the passing of geek-friendly stars, and we will honor their lives.

Over the next few weeks, we will be updating our 2016 Geeky Goody-byes, where you can see more of a list.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Why we love Gene Wilder

August 30, 2016

Why we love Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder has reportedly died.

A brilliant actor, who was also a writer and director, Wilder was a study in contradictions, with eyes that were both twinkling and pools of sadness, optimistic and pessimistic, a believer in magic and doubter of the ordinary.

From One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on stage to two Oscar nominations (for acting in The Producers and screenwriting with long-time collaborator Mel Brooks for Young Frankenstein), there is no question that Gene Wilder was respected.

He was, though, also beloved, especially by geeks like me. We have a special place in our hearts for Gene Wilder.

Why is that?

Three of his best-known roles reveal a theme that helps explain it.

Willy Wonka, the Waco Kid, and Dr. Frederick Frankenstein have some significant similarities (although Wilder’s talent and skill clearly make them distinct characters).

In all three cases, they are superior individuals. Willy Wonka has created an unparalleled business, and appears to have almost magical powers. The Waco Kid may be the greatest gunslinger ever. Dr. Frankenstein literally brings the dead to life again.

They have also all rejected society. If they “played the game”, they could be the toast of the town, the top of their respective fields. Willy Wonka has actually withdrawn from the world. The Waco Kid has crawled into a bottle and  taken a nap there. Dr. Frankenstein has tried to fit in, but once at the castle, casts all that aside to continue his grandfather’s work.

None of that would make them especially endearing.

However, each of them also champions someone rejected by that same society which they have rejected. Willy Wonka does not minimize Charlie, who is poor and not the social equal of the other kids. The Waco Kid recognizes Sheriff Bart for his intrinsic value, unlike many others who at the least discount him out of prejudice. Dr. Frankenstein believes “The Monster” is as much a human being as anyone else.

That’s a clear appeal for geeks and for anyone who has considered themselves the underdog. The powerful person who doesn’t use that power to exclude, but to reach out to those on the fringes.

None of them are perfect. They can all be angry, and cynicism isn’t pretty. That helps, though…we see characters overcoming personality flaws (flaws which they know are there) to help someone who has been denied acceptance.

Again, that’s not to say that Gene Wilde replayed the same character. Those three each have distinct personalities…which wouldn’t have liked each other. In other performances, we don’t always see these three elements…and while the actor could be equally good in those roles, he wasn’t as beloved.

As Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder said, “We are the dreamers of dreams.” “We”…not “I”. There is a kinship offered. “I am like you, and we are not like most people.”

The dreams will live on.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

David Bowie has reportedly died

January 11, 2016

David Bowie has reportedly died

The Man Who Fell to Earth has fallen.

There will never be another David Bowie.

He was a unique artist…arguably, he was several of them.

He was an outsider, he was an intellectual, he wasn’t like the vast majority of people (maybe not much like any other person)…and he was a superstar.

In short, he was a geek the mainstreamers loved.

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of David Bowie in gaining acceptance (even respect)  for “weirdos”.

Is it fair to claim Bowie as a geek?

Absolutely.

His first big hit, “Space Oddity”, was straight up geekiness (“Ground Control to Major Tom”). Its pop culture impact meant it would show up in other works, including Chandler speak-singing the song on Friends.

One of his early identities was “Ziggy Stardust”, who was featured on the album with the geeky title, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”.

Bowie’s geek-friendly works extended beyond music and music videos.

He was perfectly cast as Thomas Jerome Newton in 1976’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, based on the Walter Tevis novel.

He starred with Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon in Tony Scott’s stylish vampire movie, The Hunger…and would return to the world as the host of the TV series.

For some people, their first thought of David Bowie may be as Jareth, the Goblin King, in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.

In recent years, he played Nikola Tesla in The Prestige, and did voices for Arthur and Invisibles and SpongeBob SquarePants.

There was always, for me, an echoing sadness in David Bowie’s work. Even a song that had people on the dance floor, like “Let’s  Dance”, still had a melancholy to it.

Today, that sadness rises in me…but it brings with it a proud acceptance of my own peculiarities.

The loss of David Bowie is a hole which will never be filled…and a recognition that absence has a place in our lives, too.

Good-bye, Davie Bowie…the world is less unique without you.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Bruce Hyde has reportedly died

October 22, 2015

Bruce Hyde has reportedly died

Bruce Hyde appeared in just two episodes of the original Star Trek, but made a considerable impression on fans as Lt. Kevin Riley. In licensed works following the series, Riley has appeared in many of the novels…which wouldn’t have happened without Bruce Hyde’s memorable performance.

Actually, “performances” is more appropriate. The two episodes are quite different.

In The Naked Time, Riley is comic relief…singing, “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen”, and declaring himself Captain of the Enterprise. While it’s  funny, the situation is serious…Hyde is not out of character with what we’ll see of Riley later, just as a swashbuckling Sulu is appropriate in that episode.

In The Conscience of the King, Riley is the orphan survivor of a massive execution program who may have encountered the perpetrator.

After a short screen career, Bruce Hyde became an academic, writing on ontology.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard 

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

The Year the Geek Stars Died

September 3, 2015

The Year the Geek Stars Died

This has been a devastating year for geeks.

We, perhaps more than any other group, honor actors in our genres. Even if you only had a small role in one geek-friendly movie, you may find yourself interviewed by a fanzine, or invited to be a guest at a con (convention).

Every year, we lose people we consider part of our community. We regret the loss of each and every one, and lament the unfairness if they don’t appear in the Oscars In Memoriam presentation.

This year (and we are only in September) has been one of the most striking…we feel a disturbance in the Force.

Why is that?

Part of it may be that geek-friendly actors and other moviemakers are continuing to work later in their lives…and to appear in more mainstream works. There is no longer a fast and hard divide between “our” actors and “respectable” ones. Oscar winners now routinely appear in science fiction and fantasy movies (and increasingly, in TV shows). There may be a higher awareness of them (creating more media coverage), and longer resumes.

Another part is all of the media outlets. Older movies are easier to see…and more geek TV shows and movies are being made.

Here are some of the biggest stars who we have lost this year (but who we will always have with us on our screens)…any of them could have headlined a convention:

  • Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock from Star Trek (and so much more). Spock is one of my fictional heroes…as is the case for many geeks. That was due in large part to Leonard Nimoy…who, in a true rarity in a geek-friendly role, was nominated for three Emmys for the part. That’s only a small part of Nimoy’s contributions (which include directing Star Trek movies and hosting In Search Of…)
  • Yvonne Craig, Batgirl on the 1960s Batman (and who also appeared on Star Trek…quite a few actors did both shows). While there was pushback about the addition of Batgirl, the character was inspirational for many younger viewers. Craig was also memorable in that Star Trek episode
  • James Horner, one of the most important geek movie scorers (along with Bernard Herrman and John Williams), whose work includes Avatar, Jumanji, and Aliens
  • Rod Taylor is best-known to geeks for starring in George Pal’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, but also starred in The Birds and was a voice in Disney’s 101 Dalmations
  • Gary Owens was most recognized as the announcer on Laugh In, but did a lot of voice work, including Roger Ramjet, Space Ghost, and the Blue Falcon (as well as an appearance as “1950s Batman”)
  • Grace Lee Whitney was Yeoman Rand, one of the stars of the original Star Trek
  • Christopher Lee: from the 1960s (Hammer star, The Avengers) straight on through the 21st Century (Count Dooku in Star Wars, Saruman in Lord of the Rings), Lee was one of the biggest geek stars. Just listing roles would take up too much of this post, but we don’t want to omit The Wicker Man and playing a James Bond villain
  • Rowdy Roddy Piper certainly is best known to geeks as the star of John Carpenter’s They Live, but has several other geek-friendly credits, including guest appearances on the TV series Robocop,  Highlander, and Superboy, and the movie H*ll Comes to Frogtown
  • Dean Jones was reported dead while this post was being written. Jones is most associated with Disney live action movies of the 1960s, including Blackbeard’s Ghost and The Love Bug. Dean Jones also was part of the worlds of Batman, Superman, and Jonny Quest

There were certainly other losses this year…we list many of them here:

2015 Geeky Good-byes

We recognize the contributions that each and every one of them made to the geek universe, but the number of headliners we have lost this year feels…unprecedented.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard 

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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