Thursday, May 29, 2008

Harvey Korman

When I was a little gay boy growing up in the quaint suburbs of El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, playing in the Lincoln Glen Little League, I would stand in deep left field praying that the ball wouldn’t come to me… for surely I would drop it.

However, there was one other thought that came to my mind: Carol Burnett is on tonight! In the early 70’s the greatest night for television was Saturday night. All in the Family, The Jeffersons, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and capped off with the always hysterical The Carol Burnett Show. (CBS was not too original on their titles, were they?)

Carol Burnett was by far my favorite because it was such a great show—so many great characters. I used to wait for the inevitable moment when Tim Conway and Harvey Korman would try and make each other laugh. There was that moment—that slight smile—that let the other know that they had them. And they would exploit it until the other broke character. Harvey usually played straight man to Tim’s goofiness, but every now and again, Harvey would get Tim.

And it was classic.

One of my favorite lines of all time was spoken by Harvey, in the 1974 classic Blazing Saddles: “You will be risking your lives, whilst I will be risking an almost-certain Academy Award nomination for the Best Supporting Actor.”

Harvey Korman passed away today after a four month battle from a rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He was 81.

While I had not seen him on television in quite some time, I must admit I got teary-eyed when I heard of his passing. He provided many wonderful memories during my childhood and his passing pushes that time of innocence farther away.

Thank you, Harvey, for helping to fill my childhood with laughter. You will be missed.

Oh, and Harvey? When you get to heaven, be sure to “go out and do that voodoo, that you do… so WE-E-E-E-LLLL!


JPRESTI said...

Amen sistah.

CGM Cav said...

Harvey was one of the kings. I loved in High Anxiety when he was shooting paper clips at the mental patient. He had such a look of psychotic glee on his face that I'd be afraid to know where he was drawing that from. And even though I thought History of the World Part I was a pretty uneven flick, his line "Don't get saucy with me, Bearnaise!" is a show stealer. He was and always will be wildly underrated.

Michele said...

Chris, thank you so much for this post. When I was a kid (okay, young teen) in the 70s, Saturday night was my favorite night of TV, too! My sister, our best friend Robert, and I used to gather at his house with bowls of snacks and glasses of soda and laugh our way through three hours of the most delightful comedy. And, yes, the Harvey and Tim skits were some of our favorites, especially when one or both of them cracked a smile. The man is a comedy legend. cgm cav is right---that scene in High Anxiety is brilliant.

You've written a wonderful tribute to a great man. Thank you so much.