Greetings from the Odinson,
2019 The Year in Review: Remembering: Part 1 of 2
In 2019, we lost people that meant so much to so many different people and in so many different ways. The Odinson would like to take a moment to remember those that brought so much joy and entertainment to us who, unfortunately, passed away in 2019.
Here, in no particular order, are pop culture heroes, personalities, and icons we lost in 2019 and a brief description of what they meant to the Odinson.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund – “Let me tell you something, Mean Gene!” If you grew up in the 80s and 90s and you were a wrestling fan then you are very familiar with the name “Mean” Gene Okerlund. He was the voice of reason in a tsunami of chaos as he was tasked with interviewing, wrangling, and keeping on topic some of the most over the top personalities in the history of sports entertainment. His understated demeanor and wry sense of humor was the perfect juxtaposition with the larger than life heroes and villains in the worlds of professional wrestling.
Bob Einstein – Loosely based on daredevils like Evel Knievel, Einstein’s character Super Dave Osborne was a stuntman that would perform the most outrageous stunts, most of the time failing miserably in the process, much to our amusement. I can say, without a doubt, the bit where he played a piano on top of a bus as it rounded a corner into a low tunnel gave the Odinson one of the biggest belly-laughs of his life.
Daryl Dragon (Captain and Tennille) – Not only did he possess one of the coolest nicknames ever, but his surname was super cool as well. The duo Captain and Tennille produced a few of the biggest pop songs of the late seventies – Love will Keep us Together and Do that to Me One Time.
Batton Lash – He was the award-winning creator of Tales of Supernatural Law, a courtroom comedy with a macabre twist about lawyers and their monster clients.
Wade Wilson – He was a journeyman quarterback in the NFL that came to the Odinson’s attention when he was the backup to Troy Aikman in the last Super Bowl my beloved Dallas Cowboys won against the Pittsburg Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.
Luke Perry – He portrayed Lane Frost in 8 Seconds, a biopic film about the celebrated bull rider. Not to mention he has been a part of some of the most iconic pop culture films and television of the last 30 years – Beverly Hills 90210, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Fifth Element, Riverdale, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Every girl I knew in high school and college was in love with this man.
Keith Flint – If you lived through the 90s then you are well aware of the electronic rock group known as The Prodigy, of which he was the band’s front man.
Jan-Michael Vincent – If not for personal demons, Vincent could have been one of the All-Time great Hollywood leading men. Still, he gave us outstanding characters from films like The Mechanic (alongside Charles Bronson), Damnation Alley (alongside George Peppard), Hooper (alongside Burt Reynolds), and he will forever be immortalized as the renegade pilot Stringfellow Hawke in the 80s classic Airwolf (alongside the great Ernest Borgnine).
Hal Blaine – If you listen to music than you have probably heard Hal Blaine’s work more than any other drummer in history. As part of the famous Wrecking Crew, a collective of session musicians, Blaine’s work can be heard on albums by some of the biggest acts in pop music including Elvis, Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, and more!
James Hudnall – He was a comic book writer that created the sci-fi/drama ESPers and worked on classic tales for Marvel and DC including Strikeforce: Morituri and Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography.
Les Reed – A songwriter with one of the most impressive list of charting songs in pop music history including Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual, plus he composed scores for Hollywood films like Creepshow 2.
John Singleton – He was an outstanding film director known for tackling important topics like race relations, culture, and social injustice. 1991’s Boyz n the Hood was a huge movie when I was in high school and went to great lengths to draw America’s attention to gang violence and the trials and tribulations of teens growing up in South Central L.A. in the late 80s and early 90s.
Peter Mayhew – He will forever be immortalized for his role as the mighty Chewbacca, co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, the fastest ship in a galaxy far, far away. Though born in England, he lived in Texas, in fact, right up the road from my home town, and I had the honor to meet him a few times at local conventions. He was always nice and courteous to this lifelong Star Wars fan.
Peggy Lipton – Some may remember her as Julie from the 1960s-70s teen detective show The Mod Squad, but the Odinson will always remember her as Norma Jennings, the sweet, lovelorn proprietor of the Double R Diner from David Lynch and Mark Frost’s astounding series Twin Peaks.
Doris Day – Throughout the 1950s and 60s Doris Day was a prolific and beloved performer starring in such Silver Screen classics as Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Little and in her own sitcom The Doris Day Show.
Silver King – He was a legendary luchadore who also portrayed the great Ramses in Jack Black’s classic comedy Nacho Libre.
Bart Starr – Legendary NFL quarterback for the Green Bay Packers and winner of Super Bowls I and II.
Rutger Hauer – Ah, the GREAT Rutger Hauer. From Nighthawks to Blade Runner, Ladyhawke to The Hitcher, Blind Fury to Split Second, Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Sin City, whether in the realm of science fiction, fantasy, thriller, or horror, the GREAT Rutger Hauer has brought so much entertainment to my life that there is no way I could do the man justice here. He deserves an entire column all unto himself. Stay tuned.
Harley Race – A WWE Hall of famer. A WCW Hall of Famer. And, a NWA Hall of Famer. Harley Race has held nearly every single major title belt and award in the business and is easily one of the greatest performers to have ever laced up his boots, walked down the aisle, and entered the square circle.
Ernie Colon – A comic book Jack-of-all-trades. Pencils, inks, editorial, lettering, this is a man that has done it all. From Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld to Arak: Son of Thunder, Dreadstar to Damage Control, Casper the Friendly Ghost to Richie Rich, if you have read any comic books from the 1960s, 70s and 80s chance are you have seen his work.
Franco Columbu – Once upon a time, the Odinson was a bit of a gym rat, so the name Franco Columbu is quite familiar to me. Known for his powerlifting achievements and ultimately winning the Mr. Olympia, Columbu is one of the most accomplished and revered contestants in the world of bodybuilding. His friendship with Arnold Schwarzenegger is well documented and he even made several memorable cameo appearances in pop culture classics like Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, The Running Man, and Big Top Pee Wee.
Tim Conway – I cannot even begin to tell thee how many times this man has made me laugh over the years. From his movies alongside fellow legend Don Knotts like The Private Eyes to his miniature try hard misfit, Dorf, Conway always delivered the goods. Even his cameo appearances in Married with Children as Al’s absentminded father-in-law are scene-stealers. However, Tim Conway will forever get a lifetime pass and is a made man for the gold standard comedy he produced on The Carol Burnette Show, especially when teamed up with Harvey Korman. It’s the level of comedy that produces the kind of laughter that brings tears to my eyes, and hyperventilation.
There is 25 names of people who had a profound effect on pop culture, and the Odinson. Next week I will finish my list of remembrance with 25 more people we lost too soon.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell