Sunday, August 12, 2007

My Name is Not Merv Griffin (Merv Griffin, Dead at 82)

tv-He hadn't been doing much as an entertainer for many years, but he was producing some really bad tv shows! Merv was OK, though, really. He's partly-responsible for the funniest moment in any motion picture, anywhere. The movie? Why, Steve Martin's and Carl Reiner's "The Man With Two Brains" (1983) of course. It was Merv's shining moment, his eden, forget Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy.

Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr: You. You're the elevator killer. Merv Griffin.

Merv Griffin: Yeah.

Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr: Why?

Merv Griffin: I don't know. I've always just loved to kill. I really enjoyed it. But then I got famous, and - it's just too hard for me. And so many witnesses. I mean, *everybody* recognized me. I couldn't even lurk anymore. I'd hear, "Who's that lurking over there? Isn't that Merv Griffin?" So I came to Europe to kill. And it's really worked out very well for me. (imdb.com)

I love that movie, it was one of the last films that Steve Martin was truly hilarious in. After that, he decided not to do too much comedy, I don't know why. His greatest work will always be his collaborations on film with Carl Reiner, especially "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" (1982), the movie my mother walked-out on. But putting Merv Griffin in there for no logical reason was inspired genius, like having Regis Philbin doing the same scene and dialog. What Makes Merv so cool is that he got it, and agreed to do it. Kathleen Turner also deserves a lot of credit for getting it too, she proved a beautiful woman can be funny again.

Merv began his showbiz career as a singer for swing bands during WWII, he was just 19 when he began. He's one of the few real "rags-to-riches" stories (rare, because that's not how life works for the rest of us). He even had a #1 song with his faux cockney rendition of "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts." He interviewed everybody on the tv shows he hosted: John Lennon (while still a Beatle), Martin Luther King Jr., Bertrand Russell, Richard Pryor, Orson Welles, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford--nearly everyone who was someone. His real name was not George, but he was unimaginably rich. Besides being rich, he was even featured in a Captain America "What If?" comic where the Captain (sans Tennielle) is cryogenically freezed and thawed-out during the 1990s. Hopefully, he left his wealth--even a smidgen--to L.A.'s homeless, but I doubt it. How did he die? He was 82. After that age, your toenails hurt. Welcome to America, where you either make nothing or too-much. Then, the people who make too-much tell us how wonderful it is here, hahahahahah. He was a great tv host, but should he have had more money than God?