May 2nd, 2007


R.I.P., Tom Poston

My earliest memories of television are from around the time I was in kindergarten, 1958 or so. Mostly I remember watching the kiddie shows on Channel 5 (WNEW back in those days), stuff like Romper Room and the Sandy Becker show. The only night I was usually allowed to stay up late enough to watch prime time was Saturday, when I could watch Steve Canyon, followed by the Perry Como Show and the George Gobel Show (maybe not in that order, the memory is fuzzy). It was the age of the variety show. My mom would also occasionally let me watch the Steve Allen Show with her, about which I don't remember much at all, except for this one character who my five year-old self thought was absolutely hysterical. He was this guy that Allen's reporter would try to do a man on the street interview with, and he could never remember anything about anything. That wasn't what was so funny, though. It was his expressions as he tried to remember that just killed me.

The character was played by Tom Poston, and as I grew older, any time I saw him on TV I would stop, watch, and wait for the funny. I watched a lot of crappy sit-com episodes just to watch Poston. He saved his funniest stuff for when he worked with Bob Newhart, and he even fulfilled one of
lifelong ambitions by marrying Suzanne Pleshette. Rest in peace, Mr. Poston, and thanks.