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Big Chuck

January 14, 2013

Remembering lives of the not-so-famous


Dick Beals was finally silenced in May. For 50 years he was the voice of the stop-action advertising icon Speedy Alka Seltzer. He died at age 85, presumably not of indigestion.

In June, the dog that was photographed with more celebrities than any other animal died. “Lucky Diamond,” a tiny white Maltese, was seen in photographs with more than 365 celebrities. And who counted them? The Guinness Book of World Records, that’s who.

William Asher died in July. Of course we don’t know him, but we do know his work. He directed hundreds of television shows from our Baby Boomer youth. “Our Miss Brooks,” “Bewitched,” “I Love Lucy,” “Twilight Zone,” “Alice,” “Make Room for Daddy,” “The Dukes of Hazzard” and too many more to even mention. He was 90 when he died and had one time been married to actress Elizabeth Montgomery (cue the nose twitch).

Russell Scott died in August.. Known as “Blinky the Clown,” Scott holds the record as the longest-running television clown in history. For more than 40 years he donned oversized shoes, a water-squirting flower and a big, red nose and entertained generations of children in the Denver, Colo., area.

A sad note was heard in September with the death of Joe South. He gave my generation such memorable songs as “Games People Play,” “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” and the classic, “The Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor.” He was 72.

Jeff Blatnick was as big a sports hero as it gets around here. Coming out of the Albany area, Jeff went on to win the gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games. It really was shocking to hear of Jeff’s passing at age 55 on Oct. 24, 2012. A park in his hometown of Niskayuna is named after him.

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