There was a record store on Broad Street in Monroe called the Music and Camera Shop. It was owned by Edward Peters and he carried all the latest 45s and plenty of albums.
It was there that I first heard the Jackson 5 and bought my copy of their big hit, “ABC.” I didn’t see them on TV until sometime later, because we were “Bonanza” people and the Jacksons showed up on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” My daddy preferred Ben Cartwright to Ed Sullivan.
I thought about that old 45 rpm record. I remember the Motown logo with the road map. I didn’t know where Motown was, I had just heard the Jackson 5 and their lead singer, little Michael, and bought the record.
A few years later, I started adding a few touches to my bedroom. There were two pictures of individuals with long, flowing hair. One was Jesus. The other was Farrah Fawcett. My room was in the part of the house where the ceiling was angled with the roof line. I put that picture right on the sloping part.
All the girls rushed out and bought the shampoo that Farrah endorsed and attempted to have big hair.
We’ve had a bunch of notable folks who have died recently. First Ed McMahon, then Farrah, then Michael, then Karl Malden.
I loved watching Johnny Carson and I don’t think there was an episode that Ed McMahon wasn’t right there with him.
In the history of sidekicks, I don’t think you could have one more loyal than Ed was for Johnny. Even when Johnny would tell a lame joke, good old Ed would guffaw with that deep voice and often the crowd would laugh with him.
Ed guffawed at me once.
He was the co-host with Dick Clark of “Bloopers and Practical Jokes.” One day, I was the host of the noon news at WALB-TV in Albany and a fly just had a field day with me. That fly landed at several locations on my face while I was attempting to read the news. I tried my best to ignore it.
The tape of the newscast somehow made its way to the bloopers show and Dick introduced it, but when the fly made its appearance on my face, Ed gave his trademark laugh. At the time it happened, it didn’t seem that funny, but when Ed laughed, I did too.
I had hoped to meet Ed in person. I was hoping he would show up at my door with one of those giant checks from Publisher’s Clearinghouse. I would have helped Ed with a few bucks during his financial problems if he had made me the winner.
Karl Malden was a great actor and proved that a guy with a big nose could make it on TV and in the movies. Unfortunately, Michael Jackson didn’t figure that out.
Death is the part of life that we seem to have the hardest time understanding. I’m not going to do the Michael Jackson moonwalk on my driveway or go out and buy a new Farrah poster, but there is a tinge of sadness at their loss. Each was a notable character, and like them or not, they’ll be remembered for years to come.
Harris Blackwood is the author of “When Old Mowers Die.” His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.