Friday, May 30, 2008

RIP Harvey

Tim Conway and Harvey Korman interview

'Carol Burnett' star Harvey Korman dies at 81

Posted: 2008-05-29 21:09:53

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Harvey Korman, the tall, versatile comedian who won four Emmys for his outrageously funny contributions to "The Carol Burnett Show" and played a conniving politician to hilarious effect in "Blazing Saddles," died Thursday. He was 81.

Korman died at UCLA Medical Center after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago, his family said. He had undergone several major operations.

"He was a brilliant comedian and a brilliant father," daughter Kate Korman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "He had a very good sense of humor in real life. "

A natural second banana, Korman gained attention on "The Danny Kaye Show," appearing in skits with the star. He joined the show in its second season in 1964 and continued until it was canceled in 1967. That same year he became a cast member in the first season of "The Carol Burnett Show."

His most memorable film role was as the outlandish Hedley Lamarr (who was endlessly exasperated when people called him Hedy) in Mel Brooks' 1974 Western satire, "Blazing Saddles."

"A world without Harvey Korman - it's a more serious world," Brooks told the AP on Thursday. "It was very dangerous for me to work with him because if our eyes met we'd crash to floor in comic ecstasy. It was comedy heaven to make Harvey Korman laugh."

On television, Burnett and Korman developed into the perfect pair with their burlesques of classic movies such as "Gone With the Wind" and soap operas like "As the World Turns" (their version was called "As the Stomach Turns").

Another recurring skit featured them as "Ed and Eunice," a staid married couple who were constantly at odds with the wife's mother (a young Vickie Lawrence in a gray wig). In "Old Folks at Home," they were a combative married couple bedeviled by Lawrence as Burnett's troublesome young sister.

Korman revealed the secret to the long-running show's success in a 2005 interview: "We were an ensemble, and Carol had the most incredible attitude. I've never worked with a star of that magnitude who was willing to give so much away."

Burnett was devastated by Korman's death, said her assistant, Angie Horejsi.

"She loved Harvey very much," Horejsi said.

After 10 successful seasons, Korman left Burnett's show in 1977 for his own series. Dick Van Dyke took his place, but the chemistry was lacking and the Burnett show was canceled two years later. "The Harvey Korman Show" also failed, as did other series starring the actor.

"It takes a certain type of person to be a television star," he said in that 2005 interview. "I didn't have whatever that is. I come across as kind of snobbish and maybe a little too bright.

Give me something bizarre to play or put me in a dress and I'm fine."

Brooks tapped Korman's kinetic comic chops often, including roles in "High Anxiety," "The History of the World Part I" and "Dracula: Dead and Loving It."

"I gave him tongue twisters because I knew he was the only one who could wrap his mouth around them," Brooks said. "Harvey was such a good solid actor that he could have done Shakespearean drama just as well and easily as he did comedy."

Brooks described Korman as a "dazzling" comic talent.

"You could get rock-solid comedy out of him. He could lift the material. He always made it real, always made it work, always believed in characters he was doing," he said.

Korman's other films included two "Pink Panther" moves, "Trail of the Pink Panther" in 1982 and "Curse of the Pink Panther" in 1983; "Gypsy," "Huckleberry Finn" (as the King), "Herbie Goes Bananas" and "Bud and Lou" (as legendary straightman Bud Abbott to Buddy Hackett's Lou Costello).

In television, Korman guest-starred in dozens of series including "The Donna Reed Show," "Dr. Kildare," "Perry Mason," "The Wild Wild West," "The Muppet Show," "The Love Boat" and "Burke's Law."

In the '70s, he and Tim Conway, one of his Burnett show co-stars, toured the country with their show "Tim Conway and Harvey Korman: Together Again." They did 120 shows a year, sometimes as many as six or eight in a weekend.

Korman had an operation in late January on a non-cancerous brain tumor and pulled through "with flying colors," Kate Korman said. Less than a day after coming home, he was re-admitted because of the ruptured aneurysm and was given a few hours to live. But he survived for another four months.

"He fought until the very end. He didn't want to die. He fought for months and months," said Kate Korman.

Harvey Herschel Korman was born Feb. 15, 1927, in Chicago. He left college for service in the U.S. Navy, resuming his studies afterward at the Goodman School of Drama at the Chicago Art Institute. After four years, he decided to try New York.

"For the next 13 years I tried to get on Broadway, on off-Broadway, under or beside Broadway," he told a reporter in 1971.

He had no luck and had to support himself as a restaurant cashier. Finally, in desperation, he and a friend formed a nightclub comedy act.

"We were fired our first night in a club, between the first and second shows," he recalled.

After returning to Chicago, Korman decided to try Hollywood, reasoning that "at least I'd feel warm and comfortable while I failed."

For three years he sold cars and worked as a doorman at a movie theater. Then he landed the job with Kaye.

In 1960 Korman married Donna Elhart and they had two children, Maria and Christopher. They divorced in 1977. Two more children, Katherine and Laura, were born of his 1982 marriage to Deborah Fritz.

In addition to his daughter Kate, he is survived by his wife and the three other children.

Associated Press Writers Alicia Chang and Raquel Maria Dillon contributed to this report.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Death Be Not Proud

Artist Hans Geist touches up a mural of fallen Marine Arthur J. de la Houssaye at Williams and Park avenues. The mural, designed to honor the armed forces, was vandalized last month.

Photographer Robert Capa's images of the soldier.

George Noorey with a poignant reading of "A Soldier Died Today" from Coast to Coast AM.

Listen here.

From one Vet to another, thanks George. Well done, mate.

Let us not forget those who gave the ultiimate sacrifice so that the rest of us could enjoy this freedom we have to laugh, to cry, to argue, to hug. And to forget. To forget those who didn't forget to save us.

Let us not forget them. And let death be not proud.


Looking for Life in all the Right Places

The Spacecraft Phoenix landing successfully on the Mars polar cap. The first time in (human) history. Way to go, guys!

Go to NASA Phoenix mission page here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ben Lee

Spotted this nice white Benly in Shinjuku. I noticed the license plate uses a "B" instead of hiragana. Interesting. Wondering if they ran out of combinations with the Japanese alphabets.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


While looking for a good stone wall for a current project, I happened upon this neat specimen.
I couldn't resist the urge to take some Cub pics.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Cinemated Man: Forbidden Planet

Are you into Electronic Tonalities? Like seeing Anne Francis in a short, very short radiation shielding skirt? Have a hankering to see Leslie Nielsen in a serious role, or a robot named Robby?

Then what are you waiting for?
Check out the latest episode of The Cinemated Man proudly presenting...

Directed by Fred Wilcox
Electronic Tonalities by Louis and Bebe Barron

Running time: 1hr 38min

(Due to technical difficulties with Google, CM is hosting this episode at an alternate! )

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Edgy Cub

On a recent ride along Tamagawa I saw this fisherman brought his Cub right to water's edge.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Close Encounters of the Cub Kind

Was cruising out late at night and heard strange noises as well as the sky lighting up. I ventured near the Aerodrome took the off limits service road to get close to the stadium from the back side. It was the soccer stadium with a night game. The road I was on is off limits even during normal air field hours. After hours, it's doubly off limits. But I know the security car takes a bit to get there. Reminded me of that secret base in Wyoming at Devil's Tower in the movie CEIII when the mother ship showed up.


Saw this modded Cub today in Akihabara. Interesting combination of elements. That leg guard came off of a Yamaha Mate, I think. Or maybe a Postal Cub

Friday, May 09, 2008

Radio Thrilled the Video Star

Well, I actually did it. I took and passed my first HAM radio test on April 26th and today received my "call sign" from the FCC.

It's an American call sign with the Federal Communications Commission. So, I'll only be able to operate on radiosphere and beyond from Japan once I get permission from the MIC (Ministry of Interior and Communications) and file the papers, etc (oh, and also get a radio!).

But I'm happy as a clam to have achieved a dream I've had since boyhood. When I was in Junior High school I was part of the big CB radio boom. With my little Realistic 23 Channel Citizens Band Transceiver from the attic of our house in Green Village (it was a big attic, the antenna even fit in there!) I spent countless hours making new friends and chatting with old ones over that limited band.

And back then, in school, a classmate whose father was a scientist at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, already had his Amateur Radio License (which I had never heard of until that moment). He knew morse code, which I didn't, with the exception of SOS. He knew all about electronics, whereas I knew just enough to take apart my family's transistor radios but not enough to put them back together without spare parts.

And what was worse, he didn't care for CB. I kind of resented that, since I was having so much fun with it and couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't like it. Plus, I was very proud of the new world of radio I had discovered. But my classmate pointed out how low in output power CB radio was compared with HAM. I had to concede he was right.

And he told me HAMs could talk to others around the world if the conditions were right, and they got a 'skip' off the ionosphere.

Around the world? I was having trouble hearing "Charliefox" on the other side of the woods behind my house!

So I looked into this HAM radio thing. A test? I had to take a test? Morse code? I had to learn Morse code? Cripes, I wasn't ready for that. And even if I was, I knew CB radio would always hold a place in my heart for being my first line cast out into the world of frequencies and wavelengths.

And as for Amateur Radio, life's backburner was to acquire yet another pot of uncooked morsels waiting for that someday to be called done.

Well, that someday is today.


Sunday, May 04, 2008


I asked "Brooklyn's Own" Joe Causi over at WCBS FM to play a summer 70s hit: Mr. Jaws. Yeah, it's silly and dumb novelty song, oh, but what fun. Brought me back to those care-free days of summer back in the 70s.

Listen to Joe make the long distance dedication right on up on the left.
And don't forget to tune in to Joe Causi's Saturday Night 70s show and all the other great music shows on NYC's WCBS FM!

Thanks a million, Joe!