A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
1971 – The spectacular over-achiever Lance Armstrong (he won the Tour de France 7 consecutive times after battling cancer) whose mission in life seems to be to make the rest of us look like a bunch of wimps just standing around, talking about perseverance.
1940 – Frankie Avalon, 50s teen idol and the guy who filled in on “Winter Dance Party” after Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens were killed in that plane crash. He is also instantly recognized as Annette Furnicello’s sidekick in about a hundred and fifty Bikini Beach movies.
1932 – On September 18th, the body of 24 year old actress Peg Entwistle was found in the ravine below the Hollywoodland sign in Hollywood. She had apparently committed suicide by jumping from the top of the ‘H’ in the sign. The media, unable to control itself…again, turned her death into yet another cynical tale of sensitive youth destroyed by the ruthlessness of show business and then forgot about her.
1965 – The premiere of what may be one of the most improbable successes ever on television — Get Smart. Surprisingly, this silliness — it wasn’t particularly funny — ran for 5 years and seeped so completely into our culture that thousands of granddads, all over the world, are still saying “Sorry about that, chief!”
1970 – Jimi Hendrix, another one of those talented artists who never make it out of the 60s alive. Believe it or not he was the opening act for The Monkees on their first British tour — obviously booked by someone who’d never seen him play.
2001 – Mr. Dress-up, the real-life companion of Casey and Finnigan and pretty much every Canadian kid who grew up between 1967 and 1996.