Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams Tribute

                The first time I saw Robin Williams was on “the Tonight Show” in 1984. He was promoting a new movie he was in, “Moscow on the Hudson”. He was showing Johnny his “Soviet hand-puppet”. He had a sock over his right hand and was trying to "talk" through it  while his left hand was muzzling it, so no words were audible. Nothing really got out except for increasingly breathless mumbling. Find the clip if you can. It was funny.
                As he was funny. And manic. I remember my first opinion of him was, ‘this guy’s mind is fast!'
                So I went to see the movie. It was great. Very funny, but about  serious subjects, it revealed a deeply human, subtle, passionate, touching side of him. Turns out, he was an excellent actor, as well. There followed many more movies and many more classic roles for him to bring to life. He was a master at making a thoughtful person laugh one minute and choke back tears the next. In the same movie. Sometimes the same scene.

                Always he made us laugh.

                I don’t know the demons that he was wrestling with, but it’s difficult for a family anytime a loved one passes. It’s even harder to deal with, if possible, when that loved one took their own life.
                There is a classic scene in “Moscow on the Hudson” in which Williams’ character (a musician on tour with a Russian orchestra) defects in a Bloomingdale's department store in New York City. Held briefly by U.S. authorities, he is allowed to go outside and watch as the bus carrying his fellow musicians is pulling away. He looks at his friend through an open bus window, gently moves his arms up and down and states, “I am free…free like bird."

                Yes you are, Robin.

                “Goo-ood morning, Heaven! There’s a new heartbeat here.”
                Carpe Diem, captain, my captain.

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