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Posts Tagged ‘obituaries’

RIP Jim Bowen: When Gameshow TV Hit The Bullseye

Jim Bowen RIP Bullseye


So it’s farewell to Jim Bowen, my Bullseye Tumblr muse. He was the engine of that show, propping up hours of awkward banter with shy contestants like Colin the carpet tufter from Dridlington (my favourite ever contestant name town and occupation combo) shuffling in their seats, eyes down. They had only come to win a dinner service, maybe a luggage set, they didn’t want all this razzle dazzle.  He chatted to them about their home town, their family, their job, and would valiantly press on whenever the banter couldn’t overcome the nerves and didn’t land, as it once didn’t with a shopkeeper from Diss who took umbrage at Jim saying he had DISS-satisfied customers. The man disagreed (DISSagreed!) Jim explained what he meant. “I know what you meant,” he muttered irritably; right, on with the show!



Jim really came into his own during the quiz portion of the show, routinely asking anyone who responded to a question with a self doubting tone “are you asking me or telling me?” They would confirm that they were indeed telling him and he was duly appeased. Except for one time, when a woman threw him by saying “I’m asking you”. He paused and in a low sombre voice said “I’d prefer it if you’d tell me”.

He wasn’t very consistent bless him, oscillating between violently and unnecessarily shushing the always silent audience whilst the contestants considered their answer and then occasionally jabbering all over their thinking time. My favourite such occasion was when he asked a woman about a cathedral that had burned down “…which cathedral was it?…it was a cathedral…but…but it’s got another name for a cathedral” MOOOOOOOO. Thanks for that Jim.



Another classic was when he spent a man’s thinking time telling him he looked like Rumpole of the Bailey. The man looked annoyed at this comparison and then came Bully’s roar which annoyed him further. Afterwards Jim apologised to the glowering contestant for offending him but maintained that he did look like him.



That man should count himself lucky that at least he didn’t get the I’m surprised you didn’t know that” treatment on a question about STDs.



The quiz section led to everyone’s favourite part of the night; the famed prize board. Where Jim would get to announce such bizarre prize hauls as “pound puppies and fine wines” (GAMBLE!) and physically drag people to what they had won and also to what they hadn’t won. Like when he pushed two unhappy contestants up onto a beach set and made them sit unhappily in cane chairs so they could watch footage of a holiday they had failed to obtain, having lost all of their other prizes in the process. But they had a good day and that is all that matters. Plus you got a tankard win or lose.

I will leave you with a clip of Jim being serenaded by some very 1980s men for far too long. His face in the middle is wonderful.



Thank you Mr Bowen for all of the awkward moments, the great chat, the deliberately bad jokes, and for a show that I always find gives me the biggest of hugs whenever I watch it.

James Bowen (born Peter Williams; 20 August 1937 – 14 March 2018).

Posted: 15th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

William Gass and his hates (July 30, 1924 – December 6, 2017 )

the tunnel william gass hate


William Gass (July 30, 1924 – December 6, 2017 ) has words to the wise, telling the Paris Review in 1976

“If someone asks me, ‘Why do you write?’ I can reply by pointing out that it is a very dumb question. Nevertheless, there is an answer. I write because I hate. A lot. Hard. And if someone asks me the inevitable next dumb question, ‘Why do you write the way you do?’ I must answer that I wish to make my hatred acceptable because my hatred is much of me, if not the best part. Writing is a way of making the writer acceptable to the world—every cheap, dumb, nasty thought, every despicable desire, every noble sentiment, every expensive taste.”

Hate has been criminalised. Hate crime. Hate speech. Haters. Hate is bad in the therapeutic age of conformity.

Posted: 9th, December 2017 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

David Cassidy RIP


Farewell, David Cassidy, who rose to fame as The Partridge Family’s resident singing heartthrob.


How they loved him…


Posted: 22nd, November 2017 | In: Celebrities | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

RIP Hugh Hefner: breaker of taboos


RIP Hugh Hefner (1926-2017), the man who made your feel less guilty about looking at nudes. Hefner was the man who gave us the enjoiner: “I only buy it for the articles.” And, boy, were those stories good. So good that the protectors of our minds and bodies branded Playboy magazine “obscene”. We lapped it up. And in the 1960s Hefner moved into teasing punters with actual flesh and satin-eared women in Playboy clubs. Punters drank in the wit of black comics Dick Gregory and Jewish enemy-of-the-state Lenny Bruce, a man Hefner could not stand to watch “persecuted or prosecuted for his words and his ideas”,  proving that when it came to entertainment and escapism, segregation, whether born of race, gender or rudeness, is for losers.

This was social revolution.“

Hefner was the first publisher to see that the sky would not fall and mothers would not march if he published bare bosoms; he realised that the old taboos were going,” Time magazine said in a 1967 cover story. “He took the old-fashioned, shame-thumbed girlie magazines, stripped off the plain wrapper, added gloss, class and culture. It proved to be a sure-fire formula.”

The Hollywood Reporter:

Hefner became the unofficial spokesman for the sexual revolution that permeated the 1960s and ’70s and he was both lauded and criticized by feminists of the era, with some accusing him of objectifying women while others said he liberated and empowered them. During a conversation with Gloria Steinem in 1970, Hefner dismissed feminism as “foolishness,” and Steinem told him: “What Playboy doesn’t know about women could fill a book … There are times when a woman reading a Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.”

Hefner was a staunch supporter of abortion – including helping to finance the landmark Rowe v. Wade decision in 1973 — and more recently was an outspoken advocate of same-sex marriage, and his dedication to such issues (along with his distribution of pornography) made him a pariah in some religious circles. “By associating sex with sin, we have produced a society so guilt-ridden that it is almost impossible to view the subject objectively,” he wrote in 1963 in one of his many broadsides aimed at Christian leaders.

Cheers, Hef.

Image:  Hugh Hefner (April 9, 1926 – September 27, 2017) at his kitchen table working on the first issue of Playboy (1953)

Posted: 28th, September 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

RIP Mehmet Aksoy: the British filmmaker who showed us the Kurds fight against ISIS

British filmmaker Mehmet Aksoy has been killed. The 32-year-old Londoner of Kurdish descent went to Syria in June, joining the Kurdish militant group, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), and filming its battles against ISIS.


Mehmet Aksoy


The Kurds deserve our support. Betrayed by the West after World War 1, the West now arms them in the fight against ISIS. The Kurds are fighting to stop ISIS spreading further into the Middle East. If the Kurds win, they surely deserve the autonomous region they crave.

Posted: 27th, September 2017 | In: News | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Harry Dean Stanton RIP – ‘He’s got this innocence and naturalness’

harry dean stanton


Harry Dean Stanton has died. he was 91.

Stanton also led his own band, first known as Harry Dean Stanton and the Repo Men and later simply as the Harry Dean Stanton Band, and would play pickup gigs in L.A. area clubs. Bob Dylan, with whom he worked on Sam Peckinpah’s 1973 film “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” was a friend. Another friend was Hunter S. Thompson, and Stanton sang at his funeral.

The character actor was the subject of two documentaries: 2011’s “Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland” and Sophie Huber’s 2013 “Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction,” which featured interviews with Wenders, Shepard, Kris Kristofferson, and Lynch.



Posted: 16th, September 2017 | In: Celebrities, Film | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

RIP Greg Escalante maven of kustom kulture artifacts

Greg Escalante

Greg Escalante, co-creator of Juxtapoz magazine, has died. He was only 62. The OC Weekly profiles the pop culture maven:

A native of Los Alamitos and bond trader by profession, Escalante started scouring the art galleries and swap meets of Southern California in the 1980s to find any art, kustom kulture artifacts, or just weird stuff that he could get his hands on. “I tend to do things overboard . . . [but] art is the heroin of collecting,” Escalante told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. That led him to meet Robert Williams, the legendary underground cartoonist; together, the two went on to co-found (along with other lowbrow luminaries such as Fausto Vitello; C.R. Stecyk III, a.k.a. Craig Stecyk; and Eric Swenson) Juxtapoz in 1994. The magazine helped to launch Kustom Kulture and all of its siblings into the art mainstream.

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 9th, September 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

June Forey: the voice of a million cartoon mornings dies

june foray RIP


June Forey (September 18, 1917 – July 26, 2017) – you might not know the name, but you’ll know her voice if you ever watched cartoons on a Saturday morning. Hers was the voice of many characters, including: Rocky The Flying Squirrel, Granny from Looney Tunes, Lucifer in Disney’s CinderellaThe FlintstonesPeter Pan, Mister Magoo, dozens more Looney Tunes names, Talky Tina on the Twilight Zone, Woody Woodpecker, Alvin & The Chipmunks, The Smurfs, DuckTales, The Real Ghostbusters, Tiny Toon Adventures, Gummi Bears, Garfield And Friends, Rugrats, Felix The Cat, Mulan, Family Guy and The Powerpuff Girls.

Chuck Jones said of her: “June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc, Mel Blanc was the male June Foray.”


Posted: 27th, July 2017 | In: TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Nothing To Do With Arbroath’s Kevin Gray has died

nothing to do with arbroath


I’m very sad to learn that Kevin Gray had died. He was the brains behind the brilliant Nothing To Do With Arbroath. Kevin was just 56 years old.

We spoke many times. In December he told he that he’d been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer that “has spread to as yet unidentified other places…

I’ve not been able to get internet access in hospital and was surprisingly told I could go home for a few days just before lunchtime today.

I have to return on Thursday for a lung biopsy before the real horrors are revealed and the nasty stuff really begins.

I’m just about to write a cheery post on my blog.

All the very best, mate,


Hundreds of thousands of people read and enjoyed his work. He never got the reward his great eye for a story and humour deserved.

Donations should be given to Cancer Research UK.


Posted: 16th, July 2017 | In: News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Ms Sheila Michaels RIP

ms sheila michaels


Sheila Michaels has died. It’s largely thanks to her that people use the term “Ms.” for women. The term was adopted for women without a husband by the New York Times in 1971. The BBC:

“I didn’t belong to my father and I didn’t want to belong to a husband – someone who could tell me what to do.”

Born in St Louis, Missouri, Ms Michaels spent some of her childhood in New York City. She was a lifelong feminist activist, biblical scholar, and collected oral histories of the civil rights movement later in life.

In her professional life, she worked as a ghostwriter, editor, and even ran a Japanese restaurant – but her obituary in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes her favourite job was being a New York City taxi driver.


ms sheila michaels

Posted: 9th, July 2017 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

RIP Grotbags



Grotbags, alter ego of Carol Lee Scott, has died at the age of 74. She first caught the eyes with an appearance on Rod Hull’s Emu’s World.

Her character Grotbags was a dastardly pantomime witch, with a bright green wig and face to match. She famously hated “brats” and did her best to spoil the fun of children, using her “Bazazzer” – a pointy stick with a gold hand on the end of it.

Fans of the show flooded Twitter with comments, with Gary Dewar writing: “Daleks. Zelda. Skeletor. Nothing – NOTHING – terrified me quite like Grotbags. Bravo!”

Noob added: “Rest in peace Grotbags. You made my early years awesome. I was so scared of you!” … The show, set in the Gloomy Fortress, also starred puppeteer Richard Coombs.

If you never saw her, this is what you missed:


Posted: 6th, July 2017 | In: Celebrities | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Brian Cant explains whatever happened to Brian Cant


Brian Cant has died. The face and voice of children’s TV in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s was from an era when men on pre-school telly looked like your dad. An actor by trade, Cant was working on programmes for schools when he got wind of Play School, a BBC show for toddlers. He became the show”s lynchpin, first appearing in May 1964 and staying at ‘School’ until March 1988.

His voice gave life to characters on the brilliant Camberwick Green (1966), Trumpton (1967) and Chigley (1969). That was Cant doing the roll call: Pugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb.



Brian Cant (12 July 1933 – 19 June 2017).

Posted: 19th, June 2017 | In: Celebrities, News, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

‘John Noakes may die’: the BBC’s risk assessment

john noakes


John Noakes, hymned for his stint as presenter on BBC TV’s Blue Peter children’s show, has died. Given his life of risk-taking for telly, making it to 83 was no small triumph of skill. As the Times notes:

He also complained that he had not been insured for the dangerous stunts he performed over the years. Baxter denied this, saying: “They were insured. That is a myth. Also, we gave them the absolute top whack we could.” That said, in the early days of health and safety a corporate risk assessment for the BBC was understood to read simply: “John may die.”


Posted: 30th, May 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Ueli Steck climbs the North Face of the Eiger in 2 hours and 47 minutes (video)

Ueli Steck (4 October 1976 – 30 April 2017) died near Mount Everest. The Swiss climber fell 1000 metres to his death. He was an incredible athlete, who scaled the famed and feared north face of the Eiger in – get this – only two hours and 47 minutes. He did it carrying less equipment than a Highgate mum takes to the toilet. The video footage of the climb is awe-inspiring:


Posted: 15th, May 2017 | In: Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Man mourned by wife and girlfriend in competing newspaper obituaries

To New Jersey, where thoughts are with Leroy Black, mourned by his “loving wife” and his “long-tome girlfriend”, according to his two obituaries placed in the Press of Atlantic City newspaper.


Leroy black obituary b


Mr Black, 55, died at home on Tuesday of lung cancer. He is survived by his wife Bearetta Harrison Black and his girlfriend Princess Hall. Both women placed death notices in the paper.


Leroy black obituary


Leroy black obituary



The competing obituaries were put in the newspaper separately because “the wife wanted it one way, and the girlfriend wanted it another way,” someone at the Greenidge Funeral Home said.

Surely, it is what he would have wanted.


Posted: 7th, August 2016 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Abe Vigoda (February 24, 1921 – January 26, 2016)

abe vigoda dead

Posted: 26th, January 2016 | In: Celebrities | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Epic Obituaries: So, Farewell David W. Cummings, aka ‘Pervert’ Dave

OBITUARY of the day is from the Tampa Bay Times. Let’s all take a moment to remember the life of David W. Cummings, aka “Pervert” Dave:

Dave loved motorcycles, and riding with all of this brothers and sisters. He was an avid wood worker, loved animals and working with Paso…


david w cummings

Posted: 19th, April 2014 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Lady Anne Cavendish-Bentinck: Lest We Forget

LADY Anne Cavendish-Bentinck has died. Highlights of her obituary follow hereunder:

Her grandfather, the 6th Duke, a younger half-brother of the Countess of Strathmore (mother of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother), had not been in direct line for the dukedom. He succeeded his eccentric second cousin, who had a horror of being seen and so supervised the digging of a network of underground passages and rooms at Welbeck – these included a tunnel 1¼ miles long, and wide enough for two carriages to pass.

He hid in a few interlocking rooms in the west wing, with a trap door giving him access to his network of tunnels, which was at times worked on by more than 1,500 men.


Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 2nd, January 2009 | In: Strange But True | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0