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Sunday, May 21, 2006


Last week, we lost the definitive Clarabell of "The Howdy Doody Show" fame, Lew Anderson, who died May 14, one week after his 84th birthday.

Lew came from a time when entertainers were entertainers. Television itself was still a relatively new invention, so REALITY television (and its resulting parade of untalented nobodys getting their seven-and-a-half minutes of fame) was a long way off.

Lucky Cold-War-era dwellers!

Lew wasn't just a guy in a clown suit -- he was also a respected and accomplished musician of the "big band" genre.

A few years back, I was privileged to interview Lew by telephone for an article previewing a New Jersey fan convention appearance. Kathy and I attended that show, and Lew -- resplendent in his Clarabell getup -- obligingly posed for Kathy.

Lew's costume was not exactly fresh off the rack; it looked as old and laundered as a favorite pair of pajamas. This only added to the feeling that you were in the presence of someone precious, someone historic, someone who might not be around much longer. Lew went through the paces for Kathy like the old pro he was. He then invited us to come see his big band perform in New York, where he had a WEEKLY GIG!

Will Justin Timberlake have a weekly gig when HE cracks 80?


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