13 April 2013

Jonathan Winters 
11 November 1925 - 11 April 2013
It isn't often that someone comes along and manages to bring people together with the style of laughter we all enjoyed with Winters, and rightly so.
We may see others that follow in such footsteps, but there is nothing like "the original"...and so it is with Jonathan.
His brand of improvisational comedy took the form of ordinary items and then led us on journeys of the mind to which we could see more than our eyes ever could hope.
And while we laughed long and hard at his comedic style, there wa also a very good dramatic side to him.
Watch the old Twilight Zone episode: A Game of Pool (1961), seen here with co-star Jack Klugman. A tour de force for the both of them (imho).
-- Here is a rather lengthy WIKI on a brilliant life and legacy:
Not too bad for a former MARINE from Dayton, Ohio, right?
His break came when he worked with Alistair Cooke on the old Omnibus series, and performed on the FIRST color television broadcast back in 1957.
Winters was niot only an improvisationaist, but a great story teller, and had a knack for mimicry, as demonstrated as he pranked Jack Paar as the then President JFK over the telephone.
Many will remember him from hsi work on Mork and Mindy, but his characters that appeared on late night show like The Tonight Show (Johnny Carson), as well as numerous stints on shows with Dean Martin, the celebrity roasts, and the Hollywood Squares, where his ad lib style of delivery became the standard.
I was always amazed at how MUCH could be going on in only ONE mind...!
He was also an artist, and could be found doing one-man showing of his paintings at local galleries in CA.
And he would often entertain the tellers at the bank he frequented...now THAT I would pay to see.
Winters was once diagnosed as a manic-depressive personality, and confessed to spending eight months in a private psychiatric hospital in 1959 and again in 1961. It obscurely mention in his album "The Wonderful World of Jonathan Winters" (1960).
Yet, he gave us marvelous characters like Maude Frickett, Chester Hunnyhugger, and Elwood P. Suggins.
Only Winters could be given a foot long stick and be able to become a fisherman, bullfighter, lion tamer, flutist, violinist, British headmaster and canoeist...AND make us laugh at every moment.
Others have followed, but HE was the one they all hearken back to when they needed inspiration.
His particular gift to us all, was that through his life and comedy, we were able to forget OUR woes for a time, and be able to laugh with ONE voice...and THAT is something no one can either take away from Jonathan...or could ever hope to replace.
And, having spent the better part of 60 years enjoying his brand of comedy, it's going to be hard to view this world without him.
But at least there are a LOT of angels getting to know him...and laughing their wings off.


CWMartin said...

Amen to that, Robert. His intuitive comic genius can never be touched by those of today who rely on sex and cursing to be funny. He has gone beyond the pale- but isn't that what he always did?

Bob G. said...

That he DID, my friend, and with such great gusto.
And to think that SO many owe THEIR careers to Jonathan's inate ability to make life a little less tedious whenver we saw him perform.

One of the last CLEAN comedians to ever grace our presence.

The world grew a bit colder since Thursday, that's for sure.

Thanks for stopping by today and commenting.

Stay safe up there.

Diane said...

Wow.. I grew up watching him on TV, and Maude Frickett is something that I hadn't thought of in years! His humor was quite good - I don't think the comedians today compare in the least to him.

Bob G. said...

I think they broke the mold when God created him...
And the best part about Winters comedy...he was never politically-motivated.
It was just good clean (and sometimes ribald) humor.

He and Bob Newhart were the only ones to do the "telephone" calls...talk about great improv!

And the celebrity roasts were REALLY funny.

Not gonna see anyone like him again in OUR lifetimes.

Thanks SO much for spending some time here today to comment.

You stay safe & sound down there.