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I never met Carl Reiner, and it is a great regret. His work loomed large in my life, starting with The Dick Van Dyke Show, which launched the eponymous star when the networks deemed Mr. Reiner unsuitable to play the character he based on his own experiences writing for Your Show of Shows (where he first met lifelong friend, Mel Brooks). He ended up scrumptiously playing the egomaniacal star of the show-within-the-show, Alan Brady, though, putatively based on Shows’s star, Sid Caesar.
Much is being written about his body of work, which includes collaborations with the ci-mentioned Caesar and Brooks (if you haven’t listened to their 2000-year-old-man dialogues, stop reading and do so now here), and his later turns directing Steve Martin (ALL OF ME, DEAD MEN DON’T WEAR PLAID), acting in George Clooney’s incarnation of OCEAN’S 11, and voicing Carl Reineroceros in TOY STORY 4, but I want to take a moment to point out two smaller moments, but nonetheless worth savoring amid the talk of the nine Emmys and his late-in-life Twitter presence with which he shared his horror at who had been elected president in 2016.
I refer you now to a vignette (here at 12:59) from Rod Serling’s Night Gallery wherein his condescending character unwisely mocks Cthulu and the other Old Ones, and mention in passing his fine performance, non-comedic, on the NBC 1970s anthology series, The Bold Ones, as a doctor attempting to introduce acupuncture to the skeptical west (if you find the video for this, please let me know).
He also produced Rob Reiner, whom I did have the pleasure of meeting when his documentary detailing the fight against an anti-LGBTQ+ bill in California, THE CASE AGAINST 8, premiered at the Frameline Festival here in San Francisco (listen here). The apple, as they say, doesn’t fall far from the tree.