Ok, I know this isn’t Tiki, and it isn’t retro, but I’m going off book for my post today.
Well, hell. First Sam Butera. Then Carradine, then Ed McMahon. And today, Farrah Faucet and Michael Jackson. These people may not have been close personal friends, but I certainly grew up with them, just like we all did. They were part of my life, for most of my life.
Hell, I watched Kung Fu every week as a kid, and my friends and I used to call each other ‘Grasshoppa” in that bad Oriental accent. We all had Farrah’s poster, and I flipped when I heard she posed topless. Michael Jackson was still a kid when I was a kid, and I always thought it was cool that a little kid could dance and sing and perform like that (yeah, we all wanted to dance like mike). Of course whenever I could stay up late enough I watched Johnny Carson, and loved it when Ed would play the straight man on the Carnac skits. And who can forget the most famous introduction in TV history, “Heeeeeeeere’s Johnny!”? And of course Sam, that great saxman, one of the first sax players I ever listened to and studied the sound of to help develop my style. Louis Prima’s sidekick for years, he took over the Prima sound and played Atlantic City regularly through the 80s and 90s. I was fortunate enough to see him live dozens of times, and even got to meet him a few times. I took every girl I ever dated to see him play, and the chicks were always impressed. By strange luck, after we moved to Florida and Sam retired, my wife and I happened to be in AC when he did a short “out of retirement” gig at Caesar’s. So my wife got to see him live, just once, for half a set, but she got to see him. I’ll never forget and always be thankfull for that.
These people were part of our lives, just as much as an aunt or cousin or brother, in some cases even more. It’s tough when these people leave your life, because just like family and friends, they’ll never be replaced. But at least we have the memories, the films, the records, the photos, and the stories. As long as we do, these people, and everyone we’ve ever loved, will be alive within us forever.