AL LEWIS
MONSTER, COP, AND GOOD GHOST

Last week I re-watched a double-bill of TV films, The Night Stalker and the sequel called The Night Strangler, in anticipation of finally viewing the whole first season of "The Night Stalker" on DVD. Good movies—and written by no less than Richard Matheson. Check 'em out. But the reason I mention them here is because of an odd coincidence that occurred in time traveling back to 1972 and 1973 respectively for those films. When going back in time like that you never know who else you might bump into besides the people you’re actually looking for. You enter into a landscape full of ghosts (even if they’re alive in present time, you’re still viewing them as the specters of what they were) and one of the really neat things is the surprise spirits that pop up.

In The Night Strangler, our man Kolchak is hunting for a blood drinking ghoul who’s hiding somewhere underneath Seattle in a part of the city that was somehow buried but preserved, and while wandering around in the dark down there he bumps into a tramp.

Enter Al Lewis into the time machine.

Hey, what a treat, I thought, seeing Grandpa Munster playing a bit role I either totally forgot or was never aware of. Got me thinking, as such random time machine anomalies will get you to do: What the hell ever happened to Al Lewis and what is doing right now? This experience reminded me of seeing Fred Gwynne appear in Pet Sematary, a very nice and fitting bolt from the blue that takes you back to why you like that particular person in the first place.

He or she or it was there.

Back then.

In the magic of your childhood.

The place that haunts your subconscious with both good and bad memories, but mostly when you see a actor from a show you really liked—you get to access a moment, even if subconsciously, of the good stuff inside you. And that’s pretty okay all right. I made a semi-conscious note-to-self to try and remember where ol’ Grandpa had gone and to check his footsteps for more fun & mischief.

Well, just a few days later, before I could investigate the wonderful Jewish vampire, he shows up in the obit. And that’s certainly Life with a capital “A” for ya. How many of us have lost an elderly family member to the advancement of years and suddenly wondered, wow, I could have spent more time with them. Wow, I could have spent SOME time with them. Wow, I could have spent ANY time with them. But now you can’t.

Well, in this case, you actually can.

Since Grandpa Munster aka Officer Leo Schnauser is an immortal member of Ghost Town, USA, available through the time machine device of any working TV + DVD player—you can visit him anytime you want.

So what are you waiting for?

Al Lewis is already at the ethereal party. All you have to do is join him.

Best wishes Grandpa, and hasta luego.

Bradley Mason Hamlin
brad@retrocrush.com

 

 

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