Monday, January 19, 2009

Re: [MISP] Thinking of a life well-lived...

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The man was a giant. An extraordinary talent we'll never see again...'cuz we're old!

Well done...

Gene


Quoting Jim Terr <bluecanyon2@NEWMEXICO.COM>:

> ***This is a MISP Listserv message. Responses are sent to the list 
> by default.***
> ***For more info about MISP and the listserv, scroll to the bottom 
> of the page***
> *
>
>
>
> ...due to the recent passing of someone close, I wanted to share this piece
> on Steve Allen, whom those of us over 50 or so will remember.
>
>
>
> There's also a reference to FILM NETWORKING IN NEW MEXICO, boldfaced below.
> Many of us over 30 or 40 might remember "Schmoozarama '96."
>
>
>
>       Jim Terr    <http://www.JimTerr.com> www.JimTerr.com
>
>            Santa Fe, New Mexico USA  505-989-9298
>
>                 "300,000 YouTube views and counting..."
>
>
>
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> STEVE ALLEN KEPT ME ALIVE
>         By Jim Terr (c)  (As printed in the Albuquerque Tribune, November
> 18, 2000)
>
> In 1957 I was eight years old, a third grader in the tiny tourist town of
> Charlevoix, Michigan. It was a sunny childhood, full of warmth, closeness
> and gay laughter.
>
> Actually, it wasn't. In addition to being in a small, chilly community in
> the post-McCarthy 1950s, I had my own precocious sense of ennui, a
> well-developed melancholy and alienation far beyond my years.
>
> We didn't have a television until I was about six or seven, and not much on
> TV really amused me. Children's shows bored or scared me, and although I
> loved Dinah Shore and Perry Como for their warm personalities, the songs
> that they and their guests crooned left me cold.
>
>  <http://bluecanyonproductions.com/steveallen.html>
>
>
>
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>
> Into this emotional vacuum stepped Steve Allen, with his weekly variety show
> on NBC-TV. (Mr. Allen died October 30, peacefully in his sleep, thank God.)
> Like the Beatles years later, Steve Allen's zaniness and intelligence was a
> lifeline of hope for me in a barren, mostly humorless world.
>
> The fact that Mr. Allen was also well on his way to writing the 8,500 songs
> and 53 books he eventually authored, the fact that he was a serious crusader
> who was always aware of the social and political context in which he lived,
> were things I wasn't aware of at the time. Or perhaps I just assumed they
> were normal for public figures, which of course they are not.
>
> What I was aware of was his irrepressible wit and spontaneity. Even today he
> is credited not only with having invented the late-night talk show (he
> originated the Tonight Show), but he's acknowledged as being the greatest
> ad-libber of all time. Irreverent, totally non-linear, he refused to take
> anything seriously.
>
> Here's his delivery of an ad for Coldene Stick Chest Rub, whose teleprompter
> script was a straight pitch for avoiding the "greasy, gooey mess" of
> "ordinary greasy rubs."
>
> Allen: "Say, do you smear your youngsters like this when they have a cold?
> Do they smear you right back? Gets pretty gooey, doesn't it? Well, friends,
> stick by those gooey kids of yours. They're the best friend your car ever
> had. But finally somebody has taken the grease and messiness out, and put
> grit and grime back in.
>       Here's what I mean, and I wish I knew. It's called Coldene Stick Chest
> Rub, and you just stick it in your old rubbery chest.Watch how to avoid the
> messiness and discomfort of eating fried chicken with your bare hands. Your
> fingers never even touch it. That's right. The whole operation is handled by
> your toes...."
>
> Allen sent me an autographed copy of his book, "How to be Funny; discovering
> the comic you," in which this and many other such items appear, a few years
> ago, after I had sent him a note letting him know how much he meant to me
> and millions of others of my generation. He also put me on his list to
> receive his frequent mailings of clippings on the many issues he felt were
> important -- underlined and asterisked.
>
> Several months later I invited him to attend a film-and-video networking
> event here in Santa Fe called "Schmoozarama '96." He sent his regrets and
> best wishes in an open letter which began as follows:
>
> "Having devoted a good part of my life to schmoozing and a not insignificant
> portion of my energies to ramming I am naturally not loathe - whatever that
> means - to participate in the general encouragement of whatever it is that
> you people are up to. On the general understanding that nothing you are
> doing is either illegal or immoral you may count me among your
> supporters..."
>
> In the outpouring of articles and testimonials that followed Mr. Allen's
> death, many of his colleagues and friends spoke not only about his
> incredible wit and his extraordinary output as a Renaissance Man, but about
> his kindness and decency, his warmth and gentlemanliness.
>
> As for his social concerns (his latest one being the rise of vulgarity in
> entertainment and media) he never stopped, and he was crusading in crisp,
> clear, erudite sentences right up to his last week.
>
> A friend of his wrote that the two seminal experiences of Allen's life were
> the gratitude he felt at being treated to a cup of coffee and a hot dog when
> he was cold and homeless one night at age 16, and the tearful gratitude he
> felt when he found out that his wife, Jayne, did not have cancer after all.
> Allen, an agnostic, speculated that the earliest prayers of primitive man
> were probably prayers of gratitude.
>
> With that deep sense of gratitude for a life well-lived and for a true role
> model and inspiration, I say thank you and goodbye, Steve. You'll never know
> what a difference you made.
>
> Jim Terr is a singer-songwriter and humorist who lives in Santa Fe, New
> Mexico at www.JimTerr.com. Hear an interview
> <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4055932>  with Steve
> Allen here.
>
>
>
>
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