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Don Rickles (1926-2017)

  1. Mike Kellin, The Mountain Road, 1959.      The stand-up comic was nearly among the US Army sergeants in Major James Stewart’s engineer-cum-explosives unit, thwarting the (unseen) Japanese army inside East China, circa 1944.  As much a Chinese propaganda piece as  MGM’s Song of Russia had been for the USSR in 1943.
  2. Rodney Dangerfield, Caddyshack, 1979.     Change of comics to play Al Czervik - based, said co-writer (and star Bill Murray’s brother), Brian Doyle-Murray, on a New York fella who had police sirens on his car.
  3. Sammy Davis Jr, The Cannonball Run, 1981.     Rickles was first booked for Morris Fenderbaum before someone (who wisely remained anonymous) had the “bright notion” of calling in Sam The Wham. Not the best idea in the movie packed with bad ’uns.
  4. Hank Azaria, The Simpsons#67: New Kid on the Block,TV, 1992. Since its 1989 birth, the yellowtoon family Simpson smashed records for episodes, audiences, and the most guest stars (as themselves or others). From Buzz Aldrin, Glenn Close (Homer’s Mom), Dennis Franz (Evil Homer!), George Harrison, Stephen Hawking, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hope, Eric Idle to Paul and Linda McCartney, Conan O’Brien (a Simpsonswriter made good), Michelle Pfeiffer, Mickey Rooney, Ringo Starr, Meryl Streep plus Barry (and Betty) White! Not all celebs played ball… Rickles refused to be a Rickles fighting with (and being sued by) Homer.  O’Brien switched that battle to Homer taking the Sea Captain Horatio McCallister to court after being flung out of his all-you-can-eat restaurant…  while still hungry.  McCalliister became yet another string to Azaria’s vocal bow.
  5. Carl Reiner, Ocean’s Eleven, 2001.      One of Frank Sinatra’s favourite comics was early choice to play Saul Bloom. When he noticed Old Blue Eyes in his Vegas audience, Rickles would yell: “C’mon be yourself, Frank.  Hit somebody!”


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