I’ll be brief
Vegas says 8 to 2 against. Get your bets down now…
Working on what I was supposed to be working on today – writing-wise – I made the rube mistake of leaving my newsfeed on. Also had my site up. Was doing well, only occasionally sticking my nose into WP to kudo other bloggers when an alert popped-up. Conveniently taking an interruption as an opportunity to refill my coffee cup. Which, late in the afternoon is usually safe as Hobbo is in England and after all, the man must sleep some time.
Apparently not. Neither, I discovered, does Francisco in Spain. They must both be much younger than I. Mr. Bump, also in Merry Old England, is a trifle more predictable but has slowed-up just a skosh1 the last few go-rounds for good reasons; he is coming back to full form.
Then, I got a newswire header. Sad news. I had to read it, and that just about scorched2 the rest of the afternoon.
That header informed me Dawn Wells passed Wednesday, reportedly of COVID. I did not follow any deeper into the report. Those simple facts were enough.
Rest easy, Dawn Wells (1938-2020) And thank you for the sparkle and a good bit of class.
A Gentler Time
If you can remember back to the mid 60’s, you know Dawn Wells as Mary Ann of Gilligan’s Island on television from 1964 to 1967. Gilligan’s Island wasn’t high drama, or even sophisticated comedy. But it was a good watch.
An excellent ensemble supported silly scripting. Given the premise, what else? Jim Backus, you might remember as the voice of Mr. Magoo. Alan Hale, Jr. who did many post WW II movies. Russell Johnson who I know little about, but he played his role believably, considering the scripts for the show. Natalie Schaffer, I believe from Broadway. Tina Louise played a bombshell counterpoint to Dawn Wells’ driven snow character. And as the title character, Bob Denver played loveable, goofy, inept Gilligan.
The show may play in memory better than it did originally. But it became campy. It was, again, in memory, reminiscent of a simpler, gentler time.
Interrupted late in the day, I didn’t fool myself into thinking I could knock dust off my cleats and step back into the batter’s box. I opted to play a variation on the free association game shrinks play with minds they suspect of incompetence. Must be a matter of boredom for the shrinks: making sense out of clearly dissociated ramblings3 is a mystery I’ll never understand. I suspect chicanery. Nonetheless, I thought to give it a spin.
Hapless Gilligan of Gilligan’s Island was defined by Bob Denver. I first remember Bob in The Many Loves of Doby Gillis which ran from 1959 to 1963. Aside from some memorable young women in the show’s episodes, a standout supporting character was one Maynard G. Krebs, played by Mr. Denver.
Krebs was, no other way to describe it, a beatnik. Everything you expect a beatnik, circa 1960, to be. Cool cat. Bongo drums. Without mention or suggestion that I recall, appearing stoned without benefit of drugs. I dunno if Krebs was taken from life or if life took after Krebs. I suspect the former.
Before Maynard, there was Wally Cox and Mr. Peepers, running from 1953 to 1957. Old clips are available if you are interested. I’ll not provide links. Today’s “sophisticated” people can’t be bothered with primitive entertainment forms. A quick search of that love-to-hate-it social media visual tool will get you started. If you do go shopping, pick your own “interesting” pieces.
Gilligan’s and Mr. Peepers, if you need some manner of yardstick, are Andy Griffith (Mayberry’s Sheriff Taylor) in tone, message (if ever any) and entertainment.
I could go back farther, but not much. I’m a Boomer, and while I was around before 1950, television was as young as this lad. Anything I’d have seen, I’d not remember.
Looking back that far, it does strike me those were gentler times.
1950’s: Boomer times. Maybe Gentler. HUAC. Korea. Suez Canal. Cuba. Cold War. Brown v. Board. Maybe not.
1960’s: Cuban Missile Crisis. Watts. Vietnam. Dallas. Free speech. Bay of Pigs. Berlin Wall. Woodstock. Birmingham. Nuclear proliferation. Gentler? Um, no.
1970’s: Oil embargo. Lebanon. Pakistan. Rhodesia. ’72 Summer Olympics. Kent State… Nope.
They were different times
Gentler? No. Simpler? No.
I’ve certainly not mentioned all events within the US. Largely outside immediate US involvement I’ve only mentioned a few. Others exist, in China, Pakistan, the Middle East, Central and South America, India, Africa, and Europe for example.
Not Gentler or Simpler. Different.
I wonder. Folks on December 30 and 31 of any of those years – were they looking for New Year’s Day to suddenly bring about changes? Probably. I wonder. On the eves of 2041, 2051, 2061, 2071, assuming no Armageddon, will people look back on 2020 and think, “How much simpler and gentler those times were!”
I wonder if Maynard has any idea. Probably not.
1 Skosh – tiny bit. It’s legit, though my introduction to the word was at Daddy’s knee. I always assumed he’d made it up. “Why yes, I believe I’ll have a bit more cider. Just a skosh to wet the bottom of the glass.” Daddy’s glass rivaled aquariums in size. Just an eighth of an inch pour in the bottom required a gallon of “cider.”
2 Scorched – Also a legit word but often used by Espie to mean ruined: “It took six hours to finish the job and that scorched the afternoon.” Or insanely upset: “After the third refusal, McLeod’s face let us know without doubt he was scorched.”
3 Ramblings? Indeed!