Monday, August 29, 2016

Okay, it's official

2016 is AWFUL.

The news today was that Gene Wilder has died. And while he wasn't active recently in things, he was in a lot of things I loved as a child/teen/young adult.

I loved his voice. I loved his wild, uncontrolled hair. (As someone with hair that is hard to control, I always sympathized). I loved  his blue eyes. And he struck me as a fairly "gentle" person, at least as much as I could judge from what I saw him in.

As a kid, I remember seeing the 1970s version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on tv. I cannot watch the Johnny Depp version, I'm sorry, because Gene Wilder, with his odd snippets of quotations and his old-fashioned, slightly-down-at-the-heel Edwardian garb will always be Willie Wonka to me.

There was also a 1970s version of The Little Prince in which he played the Fox. I BARELY remember seeing this on tv - only saw it once - but I remember being so taken with how the Fox was played that I named a stuffed fox I had Gene in his honor. (I don't have Gene any more. Or, I don't think I do....I may have to look in the boxes stuffed in my closet at my parents' house next time I am there).

Later, of course, I saw "Blazing Saddles," first in a heavily-bowdlerized network-tv edit, and then later in all its glorious crudeness on a cable network.

(And yes. I generally dislike crude humor but there is something about Mel Brooks' some cases the rough language or crudeness is in service of some larger message. For example, Brooks has commented he could not make "Blazing Saddles" today, at least not in the same way, because of the "n-word." But the movie is actually anti-racism, and shows how the bigoted townfolk come to like their "A-near" sheriff (to reference one of the gags in there)

And Young Frankenstein. And, somewhat later - because it seemed to be less in the rotation on cable - The Producers.

I dunno. 2016 has thrown me for a loop.....lots of well-known people dying (though I suppose, as I close in on 50, I should not be surprised that the people who were mid-career when I was a kid are starting to die off. It just seems like SO MANY of them.)

Wilder was only a couple years older than my dad and that also gives me pause; I have been given MUCH pause this year after thinking about his ER trip in January. And my own ER trip a week later. And lots of other people I care about having health problems that are fairly terrible: surgeries with long recoveries, cancer, uncertain diagnoses. And all the budget uncertainty here, dealing with furlough days, dealing with being on half-pay for summer - and even that wasn't as bad as the uncertainty and the worry about "Will I still be able to earn my living doing this or am I going to have to find a new job?" And all the ugliness out in the world - the shootings in Orlando and Dallas and the attacks overseas and there are probably a lot of awful things I am forgetting and please do not be offended at me if I don't mention the one awful thing that particularly affected you, it is just my brain clamping down and refusing to let me remember everything....and just increasing ugliness, it seems, in the public sphere, and geopolitical worries, financial-system worries, everything.

Yeah, so. Not good news today.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

A few years ago I saw an hour long interview with Gene Wilder on PBS. I am often a little wary of getting to know more about celebrities I like because I'm afraid they might not be nice people in real life but I am so glad I decided to watch that interview. Gene really was a warm and beautiful soul.