Passing Thoughts

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She stood by him ever since they met, over 67 years ago.  He worshiped her and she supported him throughout his career and his life.  She was always there for him through it all, good times and bad. They raised three children together and numerous pets. They had that rare thing for a show business couple, a forever love, a marriage that began in July of 1943 and lasted until just last week when Florence Caesar passed away.  Sid Caesar has lost the love of his life.
I met Florence for the first and only time about four months ago when she graciously agreed to give me an interview, I don’t know if it was her first, but it would turn out to be her last. As I sat with her in the Caesar’s den I found her a charming, radiant woman. She was the epitome of a well-bred lady – soft spoken, genteel, and hospitable, and yet she was a woman who knew her own mind and possessed an inter strength.
I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to have met and spoken with the very special woman who meant so much to Sid Caesar. May the good memories of their long life together bring Sid some comfort and peace at this terribly sad time. Rest in Peace, Florence Caesar.

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On to a totally different subject, namely the Oscar broadcast.  The day after the Academy Awards show everyone picks it apart and says how “this was the worst Academy show ever!” but let me say this, although I do think the show was lousy; I did appreciate the fact that it was almost totally non-political. I didn’t have to sit through any left-wing diatribes or Bush hating jokes. And how great that “Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow dedicated her Oscar to our fighting men and women! Good for her. That was refreshing! Now on to picking the thing apart.
The Academy Award telecast last Sunday bugged me, but probably not the way it bugged most others. Let’s start with the young woman doing the voice over announcing going into the commercial breaks who told us to stay tuned for the “best pitcher award coming right up.” I expected to see Sandy Kofax getting an Oscar.  Really, isn’t there anyone that can teach these so-called “professional announcers” how to pronounce even the easy words?
I remember when the Oscar show had class. No class now, beginning with the disgusting production number sung by Neil Patrick Harris. I remember when the actors and actresses had class.  I don’t expect too much form the young Hollywood acting crowd in the way of class today, but I thought Helen Mirren was a cut above. Nope. Even she, we were told, has a tattoo on her hand that she has to cover with make-up when she performs.  Sorry Helen, not classy.
And then we had the annual tribute “to those we’ve lost” montage, which I don’t mind except for the fact that the stupid audience applauds for those they like or recognize and doesn’t applaud for those they don’t know.  This made for hardly any applause at all for people like esteemed actors Lou Jacobi and Jennifer Jones while there was wild applause for sicko Michael Jackson. Hey idiots, this isn’t a popularity contest, this is a memorial tribute. If you’re too young and stupid to know who Karl Malden was, then just keep your tattooed hands in your laps and don’t applaud for anyone at all, okay?
Oh and guess what? They missed a few people in that tribute montage. For instance they left out Farrah Fawcett, Gene Barry, Arnold Stang, and Bea Arthur, all of whom are a thousand times more worthy to be included than is Michael Jackson who made, what, one movie?
And can we please do away with this new thing of having five actors come out on stage, stand in a line and tell each one of the Best Actor and Best Actress nominees how wonderful they are? It reminds me of that old SCTV sketch that Eugene Levy did of Sammy Maudlin (which was a spoof of phony show biz folks giving each other endless compliments).
These actors look down at each nominee in the audience and tell us why they’re so incredibly fantastic. They don’t speak of how well they did in the part that they’re nominated for, mind you, just how wonderful they are as individuals in general. What’s that all about? I thought these are acting awards, not personality awards. How disgustingly, blatantly narcissistic can you get? Oh I forgot, these are Hollywood actors we’re talking about.
It tells you a lot about the state of show biz when evidently there was no one worthy enough to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award this year, no one worthy enough to get an honorary Oscar, no time to spend with a few of the old timers (get out of the way Mickey Rooney – we need to get a shot of Miley Cyrus!) but plenty of time to spend telling the world how fabulous the nominees are ad nauseam. Yuk!
It would also be refreshing if they got some good writers to punch up the lines for the presenters. Oh, and to all you “professional” young actors who have such a hard time reading three lines in your presentations, do us all a favor next time and don’t present. No one is forcing you to be there, if it’s really that painful (and some of them were visibly shaking) then stay in your seats and let someone who is truly professional, like Lauren Bacall, present. What do ya think?
And how did you like the “dancing?” We used to call that stuff gymnastics. I haven’t seen so much tumbling, back flips and somersaults since the Ed Sullivan Show. Not a real dance step in a carload. Where are Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers now that we need them? Okay, that’s all for now. I don’t want to make myself remember anymore of that show.

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