Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Casualties of the Feud

When I heard Richard Dawson had passed away, I did not mourn for the host of "Family Feud." I never held him any kind of esteem for that job. He was an overbearing lounge lizard by that time. His insistence on kissing every female contestant was the definition of harassment before there was such a thing. He lolled from one side of the stage to the other, reading cards as if they contained the lessons of the ages, when they were merely the top ten responses to the question "what do you take with you to the bathroom?" Between his attitude and some of the worst suits ever worn by a human being, it was not an admirable time for Richard.
What did make me sad was losing Newkirk. When I was much younger, I spent hours reenacting entire episodes of "Hogan's Heroes" with the other kids in my neighborhood. Though I often picked the cherry role of the irascible Colonel Hogan, I was always somewhat drawn to that shady character played by Mister Dawson, Corporal Newkirk. He was the safe cracker and the confidence man. He was also supposed to have trained in both knife throwing and bow and arrow while traveling with a circus in his youth. Go ahead and put him in the cooler. He won't be there for long. And those sideburns.
But a job is a job, even if it's being a quizmaster. That's why there was some measure of redemption in Richard Dawson co-starring in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film "The Running Man." He played Killian, the host of a life-or-death game show hosted years in advance of Stanley Tucci in "The Hunger Games." He was slimy before slime was cool. And so I won't really have to miss Richard, because he will be back, but only in reruns. Aloha.

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