Speaking Ill Of The Dead, by Mike Gold

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, www.getthepointradio.com and on iNetRadio, www.iNetRadio.com (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check www.getthepointradio.com above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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16 Responses

  1. Martha Thomases says:

    Irwin Allen's son, Rick, married my cousin, Nancy. They have two delightful children, Chelsea and Nick. So not only did Irwin do something useful, but I am able to make your column all about me.

  2. Michael H. Price says:

    Funny thing — we were just now talking about Hollywood's soulless mock-epics over at the "My Cousin Vinnie" commentary. Certainly, Irwin Allen had a pioneering influence on that prefabricated-hit moviemaking phenomenon — cheapening the popular culture with extravagance.

  3. Rick Taylor says:

    Martha – Too bizarre. I never knew that. You know of my love for 'Lost In Space'.

  4. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    That Ellison story puts me in the mind of nothing other than O Ren Ishii's (Played by the deliciously befreckled Lucy Liu) assault of a member of the Yakuza from Kill Bill.He is the epitome of the phrase "I can be yout best friend or your worst enemy". If Jim Croce had known Harlan, the chorus to "You Don't Mess Around with Jim" would have been different.

  5. Brian Siano says:

    I hate to break this to you, but you heard the Ellison/Allen story wrong. Ellison didn’t break Irwin Allen’s pelvis. It was repulsive little crocodile named Adrian Samish.

    Ellison told the story in an interview in the late 1970s. This Samish guy was from ABC and, by all accounts, a silly, small-brained imbecile. During a story conference on the show, Samish suggested that Ellison write a scene where someone tear’s the villianness’s face off– revealing her to be not beautiful but horribly ugly. Which seemed to make sense to Samish.

    Ellison replied that it was a dumb idea, and after some back-and-forth Samish uttered the "writers are toadies" line. Ellison says that he lept up on the conference table and _ran_ at Samish, slamming him backwards and into a wall. A model of the _Seaview_ fell from its mount onto Samish’s pelvis and broke it. (Allen paid the hospital bills.)

    A few years later, Ellison was working on a script for the _Batman_ series. Samish, back at ABC, as one of his last duties at the network, called the producer and told him that the network would never consent to hiring Ellison. Ellison was in the room when the call came in. A few days later, Ellison tracked Samish down to Quinn Martin’s production unit, went to visit, and knocked him over a water cooler.

    • mike weber says:

      Whatever one thinks about Harlan – and i find myself in a sort of Red Queen’s dilemma about the man if his name ever comes up before breakfast – even when i first read about it (in one of his "Glass Teat" columns, subsequently collected in book form, in which, obviously, both incidents were presented in the most favourable-to-Harlan light), it seemed a bit disingenuous on his part to get huffy about Samish saying ABC would refuse to hire him when, in another column, he proudly bragged of his feloniouis assault on Samish.

      And, make no mistake, he could have been charged with assault and (probably) GBH, had anyone pushed it. (I’m not claiming any sort of alleged high moral ground here – some years later i took actions against someone violating airport no-smoking rules that cloud have gotten me charged with assault – though it’s harder to commit GBH with a paperback book than with a six-foot wood and plaster model submarine…)

      But Harlan is hardly alone in holding the position that "Actions have consequences – except for mine". ANy number of Congresscritters – on both sides of the aisle – seem to feel the same.

      • mike weber says:

        Sorry about the multi-post. It looked as if the process got hung…

        • Marilee J. Layman says:

          mike, it’s a bug. Even when the post is in, you’ll still see the Add A Comment box and the comment preview. If you pop to another article and back, you’ll see your post in properly.

    • Mike Gold says:

      "Print the Legend."

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Ellison/"Voyage" story as I always heard/read Ellison tell it involved an ABC producer named Adrian Samish, not Irwin Allen himself. In almost all other particulars the story is the same, but tt leaves out my favorite detail; that Samish suffered pelvic injuries not because Harlan punched him out of his chair, but because, in so punching, he rammed Samish backward against a panelled wall on which hung a large, beautiful, and very heavy model of the series' primary setting, the good ship Seaview… which then commenced to fall off the wall and crush Samish in his naughty-bital area.H.E. has also credited this incident with leading to his never working on the Adam West "Batman" series. He had pitched a Two-Face script to producer Howie Horwitz, who loved it and wanted to do it. Adrian Samish had risen somewhat higher in the ABC hierarchy since getting his pelvis broke by a 200 pound miniature submarine, and had the script killed and Ellison banned from the lot.I wish I had actual documentation to back this up, but it's the story Harlan tells. A little bird at the back of my brain is telling me that it appears in the infamous Comics Journal interview of long ago, but I can't put my hand to a copy. Anyone? Anyone?

  7. Michael H. Price says:

    Re the heading, here, "Speaking Ill of the Dead" — a line attributed variously to Moms Mabley and Johnny Otis comes to mind, regarding some defunct antagonist: "They say you shouldn’t say nothing about the dead unless it’s good. He’s dead. Good."

    • Mike Gold says:

      Did Otis use that in a song? Damn, he was a master of music, one of the true fathers of rock’n’roll…

      … although he’d want a blood test.

      • Michael H. Price says:

        … I believe that the "dead … good" remark from Otis occurred in a career-survey interview of times fairly recent — something about a business partnership gone sour from the El Monte doo-wopper days.

        Some mighty powerful contributions to rock, all right — although Otis seems to dismiss his ’50s Capitol Records period as a sell-out indulgence, preferring the earlier Savoy days and the later independent productions with Preston Love and Mighty Mouth Evans, including some under-the-counter "party record" albums. A fascinating career, overall, with such immense yields as much of Esther Phillips’ better vocalizing and the occasional brilliance of Shuggie Otis as a guitarist.

        • Mike Gold says:

          Yep, SHuggie was awesome. What ever happened to him?

          • Michael H. Price says:

            Up in Northern California, last I've heard — performing off and on. Too fine a talent to have gone so long without making some big noise. Right up there with Bloomfield and Buddy Guy as an innovative guitarist of the blues' third generation.