Friday, June 27, 2008

Give Them Enough Rope...

And they’ll skip.
-Dody Goodman

Dody Goodman in 1958.

The announcement of the passing of of the great comedian George Carlin on the same day as Dody Goodman's death caused hers to be missed by some people. Then again she was one of those celebrities whose name is not readily known. But once people are remind just why her death is worthy of all this attention they smile and say, "Oh, her."

Dody Goodman first became famous by appearing on early episodes of the Jack Paar Show in the late 1950's. Her ditsy, scatterbrained humor was a big hit with the audiences and Paar was not sure if it she was all she seemed to be. In his book he wrote about the time he asked her if she was putting him on:
"Look honey", I finally interrupted. "Just answer me one question. Are you for real? Or are you putting it on?"

She twisted her mouth, patted the top of her pink hair, widened her eyes, and said, "A little."

He then went on to say:
She was, it soon became apparent, indeed real, and the more she talked the more obvious it became that no one could have made up Dody Goodman. She came on the show my second night, and soon millions of TV viewers were asking each other whether this seemingly dumb blonde was actually real. Her hesitant delivery gave the impression that her picture tube was on but her sound wasn't. Dody never seemed to try to be funny; she just stumbled into it. The things she said really weren't particularly funny, but as she talked, fidgeting, fluttering her hands and smiling happily, she achieved a wackily endearing quality.

If you think you pick up a slight whiff of envy in this paragraph you would not be wrong. Paar dropped her after a year saying he, "felt like the announcer on ‘The Dody Goodman Show'."

Most people's "Oh, her" moment comes where they find out she was the mother in the cult television series "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman That is also her voice at the opening of the show calling, "Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman!."

Or their "Oh, her" moment comes when they find out she played the school secretary and assistant, Blanche, to Principal McGee in the movie Grease. I cannot help smiling right now just thinking about her goofiness in that movie.

She was one in a long line of quirky comediennes; people like Za Zu Pitts, Gracie Allen, and Judy Holiday. We really don't make them like that anymore.

You can read her obituary here.

Her website is here.

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