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I see now, somewhere in that great beyond, a randy, bewigged Maude Frickert chasing after a younger farm hand of hers with salacious activities on her mind, or Elwood P. Suggins screaming to his wife regarding the landing of a flying saucer “Don’t run, Martha, that’s what they want you to do!” or spoiled brat Chester Honehyhugger crying to his parents that “sissy has Spotty the dog, so I want a kitty,” or the Hollywood stuntman who had his head “completely turned around on his shoulders 13 times,” or the country songwriter who just penned a song for Pat Boone entitled “I’m On a Chartered Bus Going Nowhere” or any one of thousands of regular Americans whose personalities and extreme behaviors all came from the mind of, in my humble opinion, the greatest humorist of my time – Jonathan Winters.
I have taught college composition courses my whole life and it is not uncommon for the curriculum to ask the student to write a true story from their individual pasts. When they collectively start bellyaching that their lives are boring and that they have no well from which to draw any autobiographical tales, I tell them one thing – everyone has stories.
A few weeks ago, the AP wire and even Entertainment Weekly made the simple announcement that Dale Robertson, age 89, had died in southern California. And while the world had lost their western hero Jim Hardie and the state of Oklahoma, where he was born and would always remain faithful, had lost a favorite son, I lost a dear mentor, friend and brother.
My name is Bud Elder and I’ve loved movies ever since I sold pickle juice at the Canadian Theater in downtown Purcell, Oklahoma in 1971. My first movie reviews were published in the Purcell Dragon student newspaper in 1975 and I took a class on Hitchcock film at a regional college between the summer of my high school graduation and the first semester at the University of Oklahoma.