RIP Howard Hesseman

Sad to see him pass. Glad I met him briefly at WizWorld with Lonnie Anderson. I could blame him partially for my bad career/college choices via Dr. Johnny Fever; I wanted to be a DJ or work in radio. It wasn’t until WKRP was in syndication that he influenced me; when the show was originally shown, I was a little kid and didn’t understand its significance or how it was trying to warn the public about Lee Abrams would homogenize FM into utter crap. My parents were pretty excited for the show due to him. I know why now. Before WKRP, Howard was a frequent comedy and guest presence on Dragnet, The Smothers Brothers and the numerous MTM SitComs. His comedy was honed through the California troupe called The Committee, likely an ironic poke at the Right Wing Squares who irrationally feared Sovietism.

Later generations knew him as the teacher Mr. Moore on Head of the Class, the old Hippie Liberal trying to expand the minds of a school’s gifted class in the Eighties thanks to St. Reagan making the GOP’s imaginary Fifties® allegedly cool.

I loved him as the police chief in Clue, another record-label person trying to help the struggling and not self-aware Spinal Tap and the well-meaning police captain in the surprisingly good Police Academy 2. I had no recollection of his cameo in The Jerk or Americathon, two great Seventies’ comedies which captured the zeitgeist of their day I need to watch again. I highly recommend both. Should I watch any other worthwhile SitComs, I need to be more on the look out for him, namely That Seventies Show.

Thanks for everything Howard!

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