I have always felt possessive about Jonathan Winters because I have been a fan since I was a kid. It's rather like, "I knew him when" or "he's one of us" which makes one feel proprietary. We first heard him on the radio on Dayton station WING and then on Springfield's WIZE. After that, he appeared on WBNS-TV before he went to the "big-time" in New York. My mother used to let me stay up late and watch the Tonight Show with Jack Paar. I recall that I told something at school that had happened on the Paar show and Mrs. Vance--my sixth grade teacher-- let me know that she thought it was inappropriate that I should be watching it. Other than the "water-closet" story, I can't think of anything I should not have heard and of course I had no idea what a water closet was, so I wouldn't have understood the censored story. As a teenager my friend Cammy and I listened to Jonathan's records and imitated the characters. Every once in a while my lame Maude Frickert imitation comes out of the blue. I loved "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" but my favorite movie role of his was in "The Loved One".
I loved the Paar "regulars": Dody Goodman, Jack Douglas and Reiko, Genevieve, Charlie Weaver, Oscar Levant, Harry Golden but most of all, Jonathan Winters! We were so glad when he continued to appear on The Tonight Show when Johnny became the host.
In an earlier BLOG item I wrote about "365 Thank Yous". I just wrote a "thank you" card to Jonathan Winters and I hope that he receives it; my brother says that my motive is that I just want to receive a reply because I was never able to meet him and that I can never stop being a "groupie", but, in this case I just truly want him to know how much joy he has given to us all these years. My brother said, "So you must be desperate to make your 365 total!"
Why must they always attribute craven motives to me when my heart is pure?
Well, THIS time my motive is pure!