Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to one of Hollywoods true class acts, Ed McMahon, who passed away today at the age of 86. Ed was best known as Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show, but not many folks know he was a decorated Marine pilot in WW2, and left showbiz temporarily to fly spotter planes in Korea. Ed, you will be missed.

Ed McMahon, the loyal "Tonight Show" sidekick who bolstered boss Johnny Carson with guffaws and later carved out his own niche as the host of "Star Search," has died at a Los Angeles hospital. He was 86.
According to his publicist Howard Bragman, the former "Tonight Show" announcer passed away at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in California this morning.
Earlier this year, McMahon was in and out of the hospital for pneumonia and other medical issues, according to sources close to him.
While Bragman did not give a cause of death, he said McMahon had "a multitude of health problems the last few months."
McMahon had bone cancer, among other illnesses, according to a person close to the entertainer. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.
Best known for his famous catchphrase "Heeeeeere's Johnny," said every night when Johnny Carson took the stage, McMahon spent three decades as the legendary comedian's sidekick.
McMahon and Carson had worked together for nearly five years on the game show "Who Do You Trust?" when Carson took over NBC's late-night show from Jack Paar in October 1962. McMahon played second banana on "Tonight" until Carson retired in 1992.
"You can't imagine hooking up with a guy like Carson," McMahon said an interview with The Associated Press in 1993. "There's the old phrase, hook your wagon to a star. I hitched my wagon to a great star."
McMahon, who never failed to laugh at his Carson's quips, kept his supporting role in perspective.
"It's like a pitcher who has a favorite catcher," he said. "The pitcher gets a little help from the catcher, but the pitcher's got to throw the ball. Well, Johnny Carson had to throw the ball, but I could give him a little help."
The highlight for McMahon came just after the monologue, when he and Carson would chat before the guests took the stage.
"We would just have a free-for-all," he told the AP. "Now to sit there, with one of the brightest, most well-read men I've ever met, the funniest, and just to hold your own in that conversation. ... I loved that."
When Carson died in 2005, McMahon said he was "like a brother to me" and recalled bantering with him on the phone a few months earlier.
"We could have gone on (television) that night and done a 'Carnac' skit. We were that crisp and hot."
His medical and financial problems kept him in the headlines in his last years. It was reported in June 2008 that he was facing possible foreclosure on his Beverly Hills home.
By year's end, a deal was worked out allowing him to stay in his home, but legal action involving other alleged debts continued.
Among those who had stepped up with offers of help was Donald Trump.
"When I was at the Wharton School of Business I'd watch him every night," Trump told the Los Angeles Times in August. "How could this happen?"
McMahon even spoofed his own problems with a spot that aired during the 2009 Super Bowl promoting a cash-for-gold business. Pairing up with rap artist MC Hammer, he explained how easy it is to turn gold items into cash, jokingly saying "Goodbye, old friend" to a gold toilet and rolling out a convincing "H-e-e-e-e-e-ere's money!"
Born Edward Leo Peter McMahon Jr. on March 6, 1923, in Detroit, McMahon grew up in Lowell, Mass. He got his start on television playing a circus clown on the 1950-51 variety series "Big Top." But the World War II Marine veteran interrupted his career to serve as a fighter pilot in Korea.
He joined "Who Do You Trust? in 1958, its second year, the start of his long association with Carson. It was a partnership that outlasted their multiple marriages, which provided regular on-air fodder for jokes.
While Carson built his career around "Tonight" and withdrew from the limelight after his retirement, McMahon took a different path. He was host of several shows over the years, including "The Kraft
Music Hall" (1968) and the amateur talent contest "Star Search."
He was a longtime co-host of the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon, a Labor Day weekend institution, and was co-host with Dick Clark of "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes."
McMahon and Clark also teamed up as pitchmen for American
Family Publishers' sweepstakes, with their faces a familiar sight on contest entry forms and in TV commercials. McMahon was known for his ongoing commercials for Budweiser as well.
He had supporting roles in several movies, including "Fun with Dick and Jane" (1977) and "Just Write" (1997). He took on his first regular TV series job in the 1997 WB sitcom "The Tom Show" with Tom Arnold.
McMahon married his third wife, advertising executive Pam Hurn in 1992, and adopted her son. McMahon and his second wife, Victoria Valentine, had an adopted daughter, and McMahon and first wife Alyce Ferrill had four children.
One son, Michael Edward McMahon, who worked as a counselor for abused children, died of cancer in 1995 at 44.
Ed McMahon released his autobiography, "For Laughing Out Loud: My Life and Good Times," in 1998. In it, he recounts the birth of "Tonight."
"Let's just go down there and entertain the hell out of them," Carson told him before the first show. Wrote McMahon: "That was the only advice I ever got from him."
In 1993, he recalled his first meeting with Carson after they left "Tonight."
"The first thing he said was, 'I really miss you. You know, it was fun, wasn't it?"' McMahon recalled. "I said, 'It was great.' And it was. It was just great."
Besides his wife, McMahon is survived by children Claudia, Katherine, Linda, Jeffrey and Lex.
Bragman said no funeral arrangements have been made.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Monday, June 8, 2009

June the Sixth

An original RipperBravo6 poem. Thanks WW2 vets, for your service and your shining example.

A boy I was,

from far off lands.

Who heard the call,

and came to fight.

A farmers son,

from Illinois.

Who came to do,

what he thought right.

For months we trained,

we learned our jobs.

Then boarded ships,

to cross the sea.

To land in England,

to stay a while.

Then on to Europe,

to set it free.

Be still my heart,

I whispered down.

To that beating thing,

inside my chest.

Waiting, worrying.

Just biding my time,

A scared little boy,
like all the rest.

When, o' when,

O' day of days.

Like hammer cocked,

we were forced to wait.

Til weather broke,

til stars aligned.

Til mighty fortune,

made our fate.

We trained and trained,

and prayed for war

And then it came,

on wing-ed feet.

That fateful morning,

June the Sixth.

We sauntered out,

the foe to meet.

We shouldered packs,

had one last smoke.

Shook a hand,

and checked our sights.

Then crossed The Channel,

on that morn.

To help our comrades,

who dropped by night.

A Big Red One,

upon my sleeve.

I braved the surf,
the sand, the shale.

The German guns,

which spit such fire.

Turning beach,

to living hell.

The things I saw,

men should not see.

The things I felt,

I cannot share.

By grace of God,

or sheer damn luck.

I left that beach,

my life was spared.

I turned my back,

on Omaha.

Joined the line,

and took my place.

Too many good friends,

left behind.

To sleep eternal,

in cold grounds embrace.

When Crossbows Are Outlawed...

Just found this on the "Interwebs" and I was wondering why we aren't hearing a huge anti-crossbow backlash? I mean, attempted murder is attempted murder whether it is done with a crossbow, a handgun or a piece of watermelon rind, correct? Why the vitriolic response whenever a gun is involved? Is it the mystery surrounding guns? Because there should not be any mystery. A gun is a simple machine that harnesses a chemical reaction to fire a projectile. Less than 50 years ago, guns were an accepted part of American culture. In fact, it would not be uncommon to see a skeet shooting club in a High School Yearbook back in the Fifties. What happened? I don't think there is a simple answer to this question.

Perhaps a shift from a rural to an urban existence has caused gun ownership and use to become a rare thing. Perhaps vilification in the Main Stream Media has given guns their stigma. Perhaps a Liberal Agenda in our government, bent on disarming the more Conservative portions of our society has legislated gun appreciation into oblivion (I admit I might be reaching with that last one, but there is some fire behind that smoke).

Whatever the cause, I lament the result. Lack of interaction between parent and child regarding firearms has led to a dangerous gap in many young peoples understanding of the impact of firearms and the care and responsibility they require. I also believe that by disarming the general populace, we have allowed our country to become weaker. We have sold off our Constitutional Right to defend ourselves and what we hold dear. A challenge to the Second Amendment made during the 1950's or early 60's would have been laughed out of court. From the very beginning, it was understood that the Second Amendment applied to individuals and that it was there to protect us from the very real tyranny that our Founding Fathers faced.

Consider that when making your decision about your stance on gun ownership in America.

From Fox News- Crossbow-Wielding Stalker Attacks Actress
Monday, June 08, 2009
MADRID — A stalker obsessed with a young Spanish actress shot at her with a crossbow before being wrestled to the ground and arrested outside a Madrid theater, police said Monday.
The official says the arrow from the crossbow aimed at Sara Casasnovas hit a male bystander, who was not seriously hurt in the attack Sunday evening.
The suspected attacker is a 39-year-old German, who became obsessed with Casasnovas after seeing her a year and a half ago on Spanish National Television's international channel.
The official told The Associated Press the man had been sending the 25-year-old actress love letters and attacked her outside a theater where she had just finished a performance of "Night of the Iguana," after she told him she wanted nothing to do with him.
The man was carrying a military-style backpack that contained a second crossbow, arrows with harpoon-style tips, a can of gasoline, handcuffs, rope, a canister of mace and a poster from a play in which Casasnovas had performed a few months ago, the official said.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department rules.