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Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Dom Deluise - His Secret Identity
Dom Deluise is gone. That's just not right. I'm really going to miss him popping up in strange places on TV and in movies. Last time I saw him was on an episode of Stargate SG-1 as a lovable, if dangerous alien. His son, Peter, was one of the regular writers and directors for the series. He brought his father's touch for comedy to one of my favorite sci-fi series. I was so glad he finally brought the old man on as a guest star. He was great!
By all accounts Dom Deluise was tough to work with for film directors. He wasn't demanding like James Dean or Marlon Brando. He wasn't temperamental like Joane Crawford or Liz Taylor.
What he was, was fall down on the floor funny. If you ever see a film with Dom Deluise in it, you always wanted to stay for the blooper real. In the Cannonball run films he played a timid character named Victor who coped with bullies in the real world by transforming into his alter ego, CAPTAIN CHAOS!
"Dum, Dum, DAAAAAAH!"
Dom Deluise was 'Captain Chaos' - the crazy man whose antics made men spurt coffee from their nostrils and forced actresses to return to their trailers to change their panties. Orderly film sets dissolved into chaos around him.
I had a son like him. He was large like Deluise and had a nack for making people spit root beer on each other and choke on pizza. He was the funnybone of the family and the after dinner entertainment. He had a gift. Three years ago he died. Whenever we lose someone like him the world is so much the poorer.
We need to laugh that hard once in a while - more often than we probably do. Dom Deluise's passing was doubly poignant for me this week. I found myself feeling very sad after I heard the reports of his passing. I liked him, but I kept wondering why his death bothered me so much. Then I looked up at the picture on the wall beside my desk of a grinning giant giving me the "thumb's up". Then, I realized who I'd been reminded me of.
I hope you have someone in your family - a crazy uncle or a certifiable brother-in-law who dissolves family gatherings into proxisms of laughter. Hug them once in a while to let them know how much they mean to you.
I should have written a fan letter to Dom Deluise. He never knew how much I loved his work and I wish he had. I wish I'd told Micah how funny I thought he was. Maybe, when I sprayed Dr. Pepper on the cat that time, maybe he kinda guessed I was a fan.
That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoe-making and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse. -Mark Twain