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The Passing of Two Friends

I want to acknowledge the passing of two important friends.  The first was the wonderful Richard Dawson.  As many of you know, my father directed a number of Hogan’s Heroes episodes.  Simply put, Howard loved Richard, and Richard adored Howard.  One great childhood memory I have was from the early 1970s.  It was Christmas eve.  I was five, maybe six.   At about 10 p.m., our doorbell rang.  My mother and father were suspicious of who it could’ve been being that it was late, but Howard opened the door regardless.  In danced Santa Claus and two of his helpers.  I remember Santa having a big bag of gifts over his shoulder.  He ran down a small flight of stairs to our living room, opened the bag and placed a bunch of gifts under our tree. There were gifts for my folks and my sister and me.  Santa let out a number of big jolly laughs.  He then said he had to make more deliveries, and ran out!  Obviously, Santa was Richard.  My folks knew him as “Dickie” until he started up on Family Feud.  Santa’s little helpers were Richard’s two young boys, Gary and Mark. My folks were taken completely by surprise. We had no idea Richard was going to do this.  We’ll never forget.

The second person is Ray Bradbury.  I met Ray a couple of times over the years, although I did not know him well.  He and Howard became close on a film that Ray wrote called “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit.”  Howard had a few bits in the film with Sid Caesar.  I remember Ray being very kind.  He had a lot of admiration for Howard, and vice versa.  I appreciated the brief but special moments that I had with Ray.  I remember my father had given him a copy of a short film my father and I made in the early 1990s called “The Other Side of Hope.”  Howard starred in it with the amazing Robert Guillaume.  The film was not a comedy.  It touched on some serious end of life issues.  Even though Ray knew my father from comedy, he went out of his way to tell me he had seen the film, and how much he enjoyed it.  Howard already knew Ray’s reaction, but I had no idea that my father had sent Ray a copy.  This was a very special moment, totally unexpected.  Thank you, Ray.


As always, feel free to post your thoughts.


{ 9 comments… add one }
  • fran June 18, 2012, 11:19 am

    I loved your father i saw him in sonething the other day cant remember what i told my husband thats Erenst T he said yep we grew up watching him on Andy Griffith show i’m watching it now where he wanted to get into the army I JUST LOVED HIM

    • David Morris June 18, 2012, 2:01 pm

      Thanks for the post, Fran. That is a great episode!
      Best wishes!

  • Ray July 1, 2012, 10:13 am

    Wonderful story about Richard Dawson. I just want you to know that your father will be remembered — forever — as someone with an unique talent and extraordinary timing. I’m recently retired now and enjoy watching ’60s TV from time to time, I don’t know why. It’s just nice to sit back, reminesce and laugh about an easier time. I am particularly pleased whenever an Ernest T episode crops up on one of those incredibly well-conceived Andy Griffith reruns, you know, usually packed with a cool little morality message. Your dad is a wonderful part of my reminiscences. Thx.

  • Amy July 7, 2012, 10:46 am

    I am 27 years old and grew up with my father watching the show- now I watch it almost every night with my boyfriend and Ernest T. is by far my favorite character on the show!! When he walks in (the crash of a rock through the window usually precedes him) and says something like “howdy do to you and you, it’s me, it’s me, it’s Ernest T!!” , I crack up every time. He is so incredibly believable in that character! So sad that Howard passed a while back and so sad that the others, including Andy have since passed also… I am determined to keep this wonderful show alive!!

  • Barbara L. Brockie July 8, 2012, 3:06 pm

    So sad that my favorite TV personality has passed on, however his
    humor, wit and clever mind lives on . Have been watching the marathon
    of The Andy Show and Howard T. Bass is alive and well .
    He along with others in that show will live forever in my mind.

  • Pandora February 10, 2013, 4:41 pm

    One night when I was poking around YouTube on my smartphone, I came across a Your Show of Shows sketch of your father dressing the German general — I was lying in bed laughing at the great comic touches, such as Howard brushing the medals, including the one for the “50 yard dash” — the spritz in Sid’s eye. Everything was so perfectly executed. The accents, the timing — it all took so much talent.

  • David Rains March 21, 2013, 8:28 am

    Ernest T. Bass. One of the best characters ever created. Howard Morris played him brilliantly. He’s my uncle O’Dell, and he’s someone else’s brother, cousin, or insane, but completely lovable relative. The best thing about the Ernest T. Bass character is that all he ever wanted was to be loved. A character that will do anything for love. Who can’t relate to that. Ernest T. Bass: “You will be mine, you was meant to be mine…Say you’ll be my be’love’ded.” Barney: “I wouldn’t marry you if you were the last man on earth!” My favorite Andy Griffith scene of all time. Brilliant.

  • Kelly August 16, 2013, 9:31 pm

    David, your Dad was simply brilliant on so very many levels. AND his brilliance remains so relevant! I saw something today which reminded me of Ernest T and I said to my husband, I must go to You Tube. And there he is in all his glory. I watched every.single.video and laughed and smiled and missed him so very much. What a treasure in every since of the word and meaning. Love to your family.

  • ed guglielmi February 10, 2014, 8:01 pm

    was your father in the rocky horror picture show

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