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Adieu, Robin Williams…thanks for “Popeye”!

So much is going to be said over the next few days, so I don’t want to go on too long. But I had to voice something regarding this tragedy, for sure. What a horrible shock, right? Robin Williams…63 years young. He meant so much to so many of us, it would be a difficult task to touch on it all. Mork. Garp. “Moscow on the Hudson”. Whoopi and Billy and Comic Relief. Goooood morning, Vietnam! Bobby McFerrin, Bill Irwin and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Teacher John Keating. “The Fisher King”. Genie in “Aladdin”. Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire. Sean Maguire in “Good Will Hunting”. I could go on. What an amazing comic and dramatic talent Mr. Williams was. It’s so terrible that he’s gone. What can possibly add to the tribute roster of this beloved man.

How about this: I’d like folks to take another look at 1980’s “Popeye”. Why? Because it’s damn good, that’s why! Directed by Robert Altman, music by Harry Nilsson, and the late Mr. Williams as the title character in his starring debut as a film actor. He was 29 years old when the film was released. The majority of critics had a field day regarding its supposed paucity. It made decent box office, but the studio was chagrined that it wasn’t the blockbuster they had expected it to be. Even Williams himself beat up on it in his stand-up routines. But it’s actually pretty super…and no less than Roger Ebert recognized it at the time. Those wonderful Malta sets, the underrated Jules Feiffer screenplay…Shelley Duvall as an absolutely incredible Olive Oyl! Watch it again. Put it on for your kids. And always remember Robin Williams, and how he made you laugh…and finally cry.

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2 comments on “Adieu, Robin Williams…thanks for “Popeye”!

  1. Thanks for this post Mark.
    I sense that, like me, you have been aware of Robin Williams your tv/movie-viewing life. We have grown up on his career and it is shocking that someone so talented an successful can suffer so terribly from depression and associated symptoms.
    I have never seen Popeye so I will have to check it out.

    • I was probably around 12 when Mork battled the Fonz…and at that time it was the funniest thing ever! How terrible that Mr. Williams life ended so tragically, but I’m trying to focus on the smiles he gave so many. And yes, Simon, do see “Popeye”! ML

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