One of the things that happens when you have a few decades in your rearview mirror is that you witness the passing of your generation of celebrities fromtime to time. When the clock radio came on this morning, the guy said that KarenCarpenter died 27 years ago today. I remembered Karen Carpenter and her brotherRichard. I don’t recall ever hearing Richard sing, only that most of the time theywere mentioned together…..Karen and Richard Carpenter. It could be that Karen’sparents told her that she had to include her brother in her music career and that’swhen Richard was promoted to v.p. in charge of mike-stand adjustment.
Karen’s voice was like heavy cream being poured from a pitcher……softand velvety. Even if it was 95 in the shade, when you heard Karen sing you justwanted to sit by the fire with your favorite girl.
Another couple (I don’t think they were brother and sister) was the Captainand Tennille. Captain wore a nautical hat, had some affliction with one his eyes,not like Sammy Davis Jr.’s, but noticeable, and played the organ. No, I haven’theard of either of these folks passing, but they too performed “love songs.”Whereas Karen Carpenter had an eating disorder that ultimately was responsiblefor her death, the Captain and Tennille might have been involved in drugs orworse. That’s the only thing that could possibly explain a song they did called“Muskrat Love.” Maybe the Captain had spent too much time down by the river.
And recently Pernell Roberts passed away. He was 81. Most of us knewPernell as “Adam Cartright” on that western drama back in the 60’s called“Bonanza.” Bonanza was one of the first series to be broadcast in “living color”on NBC. Each Sunday night the show opened with a map of the Ponderosa, whichmoments later, caught fire and burst into flames, revealing Ben Cartright and histhree sons Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe riding their horseys hard, four abreast, likethey had all been scorched by pieces of the burning map.
For a spread that was supposed to encompass a thousand square miles, thefront yard of Ben Cartright’s farm-house sure had an odd echo. A little researchreveals that Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe were only half-brothers and while each ofthem called Ben, “Paw,” they had different mothers. Seems like Ben ran throughwives like poop through a goose. Turns out, all three women were severelyallergic to monosodium glutamate (MSG) and every time Hop Sing would fixKung Pao Chicken, somebody would have to go into town and pick up a casket.
Yeah, it’s sad to see our celebrities go, but I suppose heaven is going to bean immensely more interesting place for the rest of us. The Cartright family isnow complete. The Carpenters, and the Captain and Tennille will be doo-woppingout in the barn, muskrats will be……loving each other, Lorne Greene and PernellRoberts will be combing their toupees, and Michael Jackson, complete withoriginal skin tones and nose, will be teaching that cone-head Hoss to moon-walkacross the front porch.