Sunday, February 05, 2006

Farewell 'Grandpa'

One of my childhood heroes and idols has passed on. Al Lewis, better known to most as Grandpa Munster, died on Friday at the age of 82 (some sources are reporting that he was 95).

I can't tell you how obsessed I was with the television program (The Munsters) that brought the weekly adventures of the displaced Transylvanians into my South Philadelphia living room ... more than any of the show's ghoulish characters, I loved Grandpa best with his Brooklyn accent and his penchant for botched up experiments cooked up in his cool laboratory ... why couldn't I have a grandfather like that?

While reading the various obituaries circulating on the net I was surprised to find that, among other things, Mr. Lewis was a salesman, waiter, poolroom owner, store detective, circus clown and vaudeville performer before he got into film work. Even more surprising was his dedication to social causes and his bid for political office with The Green Party in 1998. Al also held a PhD. in child psychology from Columbia University and, for a time, ran "Grandpa's" a deli in New York's Greenwich Village...


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