As this festival continues, I am beginning to realize that I have seen most of these shows, if not all of them. I was a big fan of the Flip Wilson show back in those days, and it's such an incredibly eerie feeling to be living history, seeing Jack Benny, Pearl Bailey, Ruth Buzzi, Floyd Patterson, Bing Crosby, etc. I actually remember these comedy skits they're doing, and all the shtick.
It's very eerie, knowing what people look like now, or having watched their lives progress, like Muhammad Ali for example. In the show he was on last night, they were talking about the upcoming fight with Joe Frazier, . . .
THE FIRST ONE!!! Since the show was copyrighted back in 1970, that would be about the time just before or shortly after he fought Quarry, which was when I met him on 34th Street as he walked past the Empire State Building, headed east, stopping quietly and patiently without a word to sign autographs for bunches of people, as they rushed out of stores across the street and from everywhere, running through traffic when they realized that the tall, disinguished looking, conservatively dressed black man with the briefcase walking down the block was none other than The People's Champ.
What a life. And I was 14 years old. And I'm watching the show 34 years later, after all this history has passed. It's like Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom I sort of knew from 1973-83, and knew even more about than actually knew him. I worked out with or around all the world's top bodybuiders during that period including The Austrian Oak, and we all knew that as his bodybuilding career progressed that he was also in the process of conquering the business world in real estate out in California. Arnold had a great work ethic and took to the idea of hard work, building yourself in many ways, not just building your body.
Well, a few years after his official retirement in '75, but prior to his somewhat questionable one-contest comeback in '80, word had filtered back to us through the bodybuilding grapevine that Arnold had serious political ambitions, something we always suspected since Arnold had spoken openly in the movie Pumping Iron about reading up on dictators like Hitler and Stalin and admiring them. I even predicted in '82, something a friend of mine reminded me of recently, that Arnold could be president someday, and indeed the possibility of such a constitutional amendment has been discussed.
Arnold had all the "star" qualities from the beginning, extreme intelligence, a great comedian, a hard worker, very perceptive and charming. Do NOT sell him short in his capabilities as the Governor of California, whether you like his policies, party or not. Arnold Schwarzenegger WILL conquer whatever area of life he becomes interested in, and it will be because he has the capability.
Well, that's what this TVLand Flip Wilson Show Festival is bringing forth in my mind. It's just very eerie, getting Muhammad Ali's autograph on the street in my home town, The Big Apple, seeing TV shows I watched well over three decades ago and remembering them. Having rubbed elbows and worked out with Arnold and Co. three decades ago, and here I am plowing through middle age and watching the outcome of it all.
TVLand's Flip Wilson Show Festival. A trip through time.