Super Man Prime

25-Sep-09 1:04 PM by
Filed under Celebrities; Comments Off on Super Man Prime

October 10th, 2004, was a terrible day. Suddenly and unexpectedly, Christopher Reeve — who for the last decade had fought not only a devastating spinal cord injury, but also a lack of support, funding, and research into curing this condition for millions worldwide — passed away.

Made famous by the Superman movies, Mr. Reeve was known to many only by that role, overlooking his political activism, family values, and talented filmography. This diversity was captured in A&E's biography, as I discovered when I played the DVD to a classroom of high school students, who were surprised by how little they knew of this actor. Several other books and documentaries published both since Mr. Reeve's accident and his passing have added more details and layers.

I am writing this blog post about my personal hero not on October 10th, but today, because this is the day Superman would've been 57. I could write much more about how he has inspired me, and how he embodies what a role model can and should be. But I'll keep this short and celebrate his life, not his death, by sharing his 1979 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson — in my opinion, one of the two funniest people of the 20th century. Mr. Carson passed away just three months after Mr. Reeve, but in this video, we can see them both as we remember them, in their prime:

Hat tip to the L.A. Times.

Missed It By That Much

27-Jan-07 12:44 AM by
Filed under Celebrities, Television, Trailers; 9 comments.

Get Smart was the first "classic" show I stumbled across in a summer that began a love affair with Nick at Nite. The show and its brethren were sheer genius: famous actors in classic situations, presenting clean comedy my parents and I could enjoy together. My family continues to bond over this media even today: our recent Christmas gift to each other was the complete series on DVD. (not in stores until November 2007!)

The connection went beyond the screen, too. Even if I didn't yet know the word "deadpan" — a style I also admired from Johnny Carson — it was a quality I first loved, and later practiced, as a result of Don Adams' example. Though we have lost the likes of such gentlemen as Mr. Adams, Mr. Carson, and Ed Platt, I am relieved that we can still count among us Barbara Feldon, in whose recent book, Living Alone and Loving It, I was delighted to empathize with this belief:

The emotional excess of music felt more real than the muted emotion and soft demeanor I expressed in daily life. When I was this passionately engaged I didn't need anything else to "complete" me; not a man, not a career affirmation. I only had to give in to the music to live an immense life that I could experience any time I chose.

Now, as I am reminded by this news story, that heritage is to be passed on to a silver screen adaptation… and I find myself stricken with trepidation. Get Smart has been revived often enough, IMHO: the 1980 film The Nude Bomb, the 1989 film Get Smart, Again!, and Andy Dick/Elaine Hendrix's failed Fox TV revival, the eponymous Get Smart. These four entries have alternated between hit and miss, so technically, we are due a successful effort. But I've fallen victim to that flawed statistical logic before, and I'm hesitant to allow my childhood icons to again be disrespected in this manner.

Television shows have best transitioned to modern cinema when the script and director do not take the source material too seriously; only The Brady Bunch Movie has successfully at once lampooned and paid homage to its origin. But Get Smart is already a parody; it can't be further satirized. Though I think Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway could do the roles well, they aren't Don Adams and Barbara Feldon any more than Andy Dick and Elaine Hendrix were.

In my overprotectiveness of my childhood memories, am I the one taking the source material too seriously? Or is this adaptation indeed doomed to fail?