It's taken me some time to piece it together, but I know now why I will miss Andy Williams. It might be because of his quintessential version of "Moon River." It might have been his connection to the Kennedys and their tragic kingdom. It might have been his steadfast support of his ex-wife, Claudine Longet, after she was accused of murdering professional skier Spider Sabich. Eighteen gold and three platinum albums? How about his record company signing then little-known singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet?
Nope. None of those. It was the bear.
Which bear? The cookie bear. It was a guy in a pretty obvious bear suit, usually sporting a necktie, who regularly appeared just about the time Andy was getting ready to croon on his weekly TV show. I wasn't watching for Andy's crooning. I was watching for the bear. I wanted him to stop Andy from singing. Not because I was particularly adverse to Mister Williams' vocal stylings, but it was better when the bear showed up. It was funny.
And the bottom line was this: Somewhere in this equation, Andy Williams knew that. Consequently, he allowed himself to upstaged by a guy in a bear suit at least once a week. A running gag. A similar ploy was used to get the Osmonds on the show on a regular basis. I didn't find this as amusing. But now that he is gone, I can forgive Andy for that. I think I'll have a cookie in his honor.