March 18, 2019

From resident “Huckabee” pop culture historian, Pat Reeder ( ):

One of my sad duties is to report when we lose veterans of that Golden Age when talent was actually a requirement for a career in show business.  Today, we offer our condolences to the families and fans of two men who contributed a great deal to 20th century entertainment that we still enjoy today, even if you don’t know their names.

First, Richard Erdman died Saturday at an assisted living facility in West Hills, California, at 93.  Unlike some character actors whose names become somewhat familiar, Erdman was one of those guys virtually nobody could name, but whenever you saw him, you said, “Oh, it’s that guy!”  Whether a director needed an exasperated floorwalker or a neurotic ad man or an annoyed juror, Erdman was the go-to actor for both dramas and comedies.  He appeared in dozens of movies and countless TV shows, from “The Twilight Zone” and “Perry Mason” to “Cheers” and “Felicity,” all the way up to “Community.”  Obscure trivia: he was set to play a star-making role in “The Best Years of Our Lives” but Warner Brothers wouldn’t loan him out.  The role went instead to real-life veteran and amputee Harold Russell, who had never acted before.  Russell won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. 

Click the link for more about Richard Erdman and a photo that will make you say, “Oh, THAT guy!”

Saturday was a national day of mourning for anyone who ever played an electric guitar (or tried to), as word came that Dick Dale (real name: Richard Anthony Monsour) had died at 81.  Causes were undisclosed but he had been in ill health for several years despite continuing to tour.  He had bookings listed on his website all the way through November. 

Dick Dale and the Dale Tones were seminal influences on early ‘60s Southern California rock, and Dale was hailed as “The King of Surf Rock Guitar.”  His radically unusual style combined percussive fingering influenced by Gene Krupa’s drumming and native dance rhythms, Middle Eastern scales, a unique left-handed way of playing in which he often reached over the neck instead of under it, rapid-fire staccato picking, very heavy gauge strings that could be bent without breaking, and tons of reverb.  His playing influenced everyone from the Ventures to Jimi Hendrix to Stevie Ray Vaughn.  His song “Let’s Go Trippin’” is considered the first surf rock record, and his classics of the genre included “Pipeline” and “Misirlou,” which sparked a new wave of surf bands after Quentin Tarantino used it in “Pulp Fiction.”  It also led to his music becoming ubiquitous in movies and TV shows set anywhere near a beach.

Here is an obituary with more information on Dick Dale, plus the original “Misirlou”…

Here he is doing “Pipeline” with Stevie Ray Vaughn from the 1987 movie, “Back to the Beach”… 

And for you completists, here’s the 45 that started it all, “Let’s Go Trippin’.”



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  • Sharon Hayden

    03/18/2019 08:40 PM

    So sad to lose our veterans.