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From the Village known as life.



Bob Wilkins, the original host of KTVU's Creature Features and Captain Cosmic, died yesterday after a long battle with Alzheimer's. 

Bob WilkinsWhile I can't remember any specifics of what I watched on Creature Features, I do remember watching it.  It would have been an event for me at that age to stay up late to watch it.  Since I would have been eight when he left the show, I probably watched his successor more than him (and even less at the end of the series' run, when Doctor Who began it's late Saturday run.)

I can more vividly recall watching Bob's daytime show - Captain Cosmic.  This is where I was introduced to series' like Ultraman and Captain Scarlet.  I even remember a little of the opening sequence, an homage to the Superman openings, "Faster than a speeding BART train..." with him running down a BART station platform.  I even had the membership/decoder cards - though I can't remember what we had to decode.

Of course, Bob was pretty much relegated to the back of my mind for most of the 80s and 90s.  Then in 2005 he was back in my life through his protoge, the host (and writer, producer, &c...) of Cinema Insomnia with Mr. Lobo.  Like myself, Mr. Lobo grew up watching Bob - except that he was inspired to follow in his footsteps and host his own shows.  It was through my collaboration with Mr. Lobo that I would eventually meet - and have the pleasure of introducing to an audience at SiliCon - Bob.  Sadly, this was around the period when the Alzheimer's was taking effect, and would be my only meeting with him.

Goodbye from Bob Wilkins

We are, however, lucky to have had Bob Wilkins in our lives.  Whether you only saw him on the television, or got to know him personally.  Thankfully, we have film and video clips to remember him by - and not just our faded memories.  I'm also glad that the internet will keep his memory alive.  As a launching pad to memory lane, why not try Scott Moon's official Bob Wilkins site (where I pinched this image from.)  If you are from the Sacramento viewing area, maybe you'd want to head over to Blog Wilkins, which not only has memories of Bob on KCRA and KTVU but also continues to look at the state of hosted horror movies in the two markets (and where I got the top image.)  I would also be remiss in not suggesting the site for Cinema Insomnia, which Bob not only inspired but was an adviser for.  

...well, maybe (BBC News)

George CarlinGeorge Carlin passed away yesterday.  It was a bit of a shock, but he'd apparently been having heart troubles for a while now.  It never seemed to slow him down - he'd even just performed in Vegas the prior week.

I remember as a kid in the 70s checking out his records from the library - along with the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Cheech & Chong (this explains a lot about me...)  I still can't believe that I could do that, and that my parents let me listen to them (unless they didn't know...)  I could easily attribute my laid back attitude to words, and the multiple uses for them, to George.

It was a major highlight that I was able to score tickets to see George at the Rheem Theater in Moraga back in the early 90s.  It was an interesting experience, as the area was a little more on the affluent side and George's routine suggested that instead of bombing brown people let's bomb the golf courses.  I learned that night the difference between a comedy concert and a stand up routine when George walked off stage until the heckler, who apparenltly didn't agree with him, was taken care of.  The concert then continued.

In 1989, I was introduced to George Carlin the actor.  I wasn't really aware of any previous acting roles for him, as I grew up on the albums.  But seeing him in the cinema in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was a delight, and later in Dogma as a commercially oriented bishop.  Both were roles that we're probably not written for him, but ones that you can't see anyone else playing.  I recently saw one of his earliest acting roles as the cab driver in Car Wash, and even for the relatively small amount of screen time he had he managed to completely own his character.

The news of his death, however, came quickly on the heels of the announcement that he was to be this year's recipient of the Mark Twain Prize.  I was looking forward to seeing this later in the year, as it's televised on PBS as part of the Kennedy Center Presents series.  I hope they decide to honor him posthumously instead of awarding it to someone else.  I know that part of the appeal is to see the recipient being honored, and it will be odd without him there. 

Speaking of odd... George sent out a press release, in response to being named the awards recipient this year, that read: "Thank you Mr. Twain. Have your people call my people."  It looks like they arranged a meeting...

So the great chess legend Bobby Fischer has died. He was age 64, which is the same number of spaces that are on a chess board (I deliberately say "spaces" instead of "squares" because, if you want to, you can count 204 squares on a chess board.) I found this to be a fitting coincidence. Perhaps it was his plan all along...

To the Manor BornThere's not much more that one can say, except for "YAY!!!" That's because we get one more new episode of the classic late 70s comedy "To the Manor Born". Read all about it here.

On a similar note, but not with so much enthusiasm, the comedy "Spaced" is currently in the pilot stage for FOX.

Simon on the CanThis just in: Star and writer of Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz - Simon Pegg - has been hired on to play the young Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in the next Star Trek film.

Read more about it here.

BadwillI'm embarking on the next chapter of my life, which involves a lot of purging (that's the problem when you mix two fully stocked households into one...) and one of the most ecological things to do during this period is to donate your excess belongings to a second-hand store of some kind. This phrase "just give it to Goodwill" is a fairly common one in these circumstances, Goodwill having become the Kleenex or Hoover of the second-hand goods industry.

Goodwill was a very green concept before it was fashionable to be green. Now it's only fashionable if it means green in their cash registers. Goodwill used to train people by fixing up some of the less perfect items, now they will only take something that is immediately resalable. This was not how they got their start in life, and this definitely not how a charitable organization of this type should operate.

Today was the last time I deal with them.

The New York Times managed to already get a review of the new Harry Potter book, so can read it here.
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