Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Grandpa Munster has left the room

In what's shaping up as a busy week for me, I won't have much time to be posting on either blog. I did want to put this up, however. Democracy Now had a great segment on Al Lewis, the actor who played Grandpa on the 1960s Hollywood sitcom, The Munsters. He passed away, Friday, February 5, 2006, at the age of 95 years old.

While mainstream accounts emphasized his work on the popular sitcom, to the exclusion of all else, several alternative accounts of Lewis revealed him to be something much more than a mere actor, playing a bit part.

Like many men of his generation, Lewis was shaped by a hardscrabble life, which included experiencing the depression firsthand. Unlike many of us, who grew up during the post-war period of affluence, he didn't live life with our expectation of everything being handed to us on a silver platter. He took life by the horns and squeezed the most out of each and every day.

The 1997 interview conducted by the editors of New York's Anarchist publication, The Shadow, originally ran in Alternative Press Review, back in 1998. It is a great read and captures the essence of the man foreever known to many as "Grandpa Munster."

One of my favorite parts of the interview is when Lewis chastises today's self-styled activists for their lack of perspective and understanding of the class war.

I think Lewis' offers a perspective that isn't offered much anymore, the perspective of a man who lived life to the fullest, on his terms, not the terms dictated by polite society. He offers a portrait of a generation that sadly, is just about gone. If our nation had any greatness, it was because of the men (and women) of Lewis' generation.


weasel said...

"But what do you think about the people of the Sixties who didn't go along with that but made money and used it for good purposes?

I haven't found that species. (Laughs)"

Good old Al Lewis- I have nothing but for respect for a man who saw through the baby boom generation for what they are...

Thanks for posting this link. I think I'm going to start calling you Grandpa Jim from now on.

Jim said...

Grandpa Jim, it is!