Monday, July 30, 2007

And school's out early and soon we'll be learning and the lesson today is how to die...

As a founding member and semi-regular contributor of my friend Janssen's "Celebrity Death Pun & Conundrum Society" Facebook group, I always have my ear to the ground when it comes to the passing of celebrities of varying fame. It's always interesting to see what clever, esoteric, or (many times) belabored puns we can make about the deceased from Robert Altman ("Suicide would have been painless") to Peter Boyle ("Dead Frankenstein") to Charles Nelson Reilly ("When the doctor looked at his EKG, he saw a ______"). However, given the ever so mercurial nature of the Reaper one could go weeks at a time before a celebrity of a suitable pop culture pedigree (not that there's anything wrong with that; Karl Malden, Nancy Reagan, the cast of Golden Girls you guys keep on trucking) or have a ridiculous day like today when you have reports of three big passings all within a few hours. I am also fully aware that many other "notable" people die everyday like the patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Chairman of the Iranian Assembly of Experts, but one must agree that these people lack a certain pop cultural cache.

If you haven't heard already Tom Snyder, Bill Walsh, and Ingmar Bergman all passed away earlier today, all three (well to a lesser extent for Tom) were some of the most accomplished men of their respective fields. I mean there have been crowded days like this before but I found it interesting, the diversity of those that passed. How many Ingmar Bergman fans would know if Bill Walsh or Tom Snyder died, how man Bill Walsh fans cared if Tom Snyder and Ingmar Bergman died, does Tom Snyder even have fans? The final interesting note about the passings were that I learned about both Bergman and Snyder from watching the Critic. I also remember playing Bill Walsh College Football for the SNES at my friends house around the same time thus completing this bizarre 1995 connection.

So here are my final words on:

Tom Snyder
"The Late Late Late Show"
I'm far too young to have even existed for his more famous "Tomorrow with Tom Snyder" but I do remember watching the Late Late show, which for those of you actually younger than me was later hosted by Craig Kilborn and now Craig Ferguson. I recall viewing his incomprehensibly cerebral discussion show as the epitome of what being an adult was about...because it was so boring.

Ingmar Bergman

I actually haven't seen a single Ingmar Bergman film myself, although I did see "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey" where they parody the whole playing games with Death thing from the "Seventh Seal". Now that I'm getting my Netflix going again maybe I'll get around to seeing at least one. However prospects seem low that there are any nudity filled sex romp action buddy comedies in his filmography.

Bill Walsh
"West Corpse Offense"

Unfortunately no Bill Walsh parody in the Critic to complete the trifecta but a crudely animated representation nevertheless. I again was far too young or not even born to appreciate the three Super Bowls won by his 49ers dynasty. When I watch the NFL films though, I really feel bad for the 1988 Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. I had for years mistaken George Seifert, who lead the 49ers to Super Bowl wins in 1989 and 1995, with Walsh. Although this mistake is quite understandable considering that they were both similar looking gray haired old white guys.


  1. Hi Victor,

    This might sound like a random question, but are you Korean? I'm a writer for KoreAm Journal, a Korean American magazine and would love to interview you. Please contact me at Thanks!

    Michelle Woo

  2. Hey Vic!
    Your race has preceded you...

  3. There's actually some pretty hott Mulholland Drive-like sexual tension between Liv Ullman and Bibi Andersson in Persona. Ahead of its time, really.

  4. This "Celebrity Death Pun" group sounds suspiciously like the Four Word Film Review's forum called "Four Word Tasteless Obituaries". You can compare by going to

  5. Yeah that's about right, except we wait for the person to actually die.