Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Kissing Man Will Be Missed

I was so sad to hear this morning of Richard Dawson's passing. Depending on where our age puts us (or how strongly inclined we are to watch old reruns), most of us remember him well from Match Game, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Laugh In and Hogan's Heroes - and definitely from his long run on Family Feud. 

My grandmother just adored him on Family Feud and planned her days around making sure that she didn't miss the show. She got so tickled at how he kissed all of the ladies and called him "The Kissing Man". "The Kissing Man is on!" she'd chirp and ask me to turn the volume up on her floor model Curtis Mathis TV. Year after year, she'd watch him and I'll always associate him with her and remember how we'd yell out answers to the survey questions, stopping from time to time to congratulate each other on how smart we were.

 I often like to picture Heaven like a great big party where everyone is having a fantastic time in a swank pad on a hill overlooking the most beautiful setting that we can imagine. Glasses clinking and the whole place just bubbling over with genuine laughter. Every now and then, a new guest will arrive at the party and someone will say, "Well look who's here! It's..." and introduce the rest of the party guests to the most recent invite. Everyone then welcomes them with handshakes and cheerful slaps to the back before someone hands them a drink and a plate of tiny sandwiches and the best seat in the house - which is every seat, well...because it's Heaven.

Today, I'm picturing Richard smiling and waving as he comes through the door and my grandmother finally getting a kiss on the cheek from him. She greets him with a shuffle and a swish in her party dress and the house shoes that she always brings with her for the end of the evening's wind-down. Maybe she has her beloved black and white cat, Porkchop on her shoulder. It's a good scene. They're both grinning widely like old friends. Somewhere in the background, the needle drops on a record that they both remember and they bob their heads with the beat.

 I was mulling over which video to share of Richard today. There were so many hilarious ones of him, cracking jokes and full of laughter and wit - but when I found this one, I knew. This is from his very last show and never made it to TV. The message is clear and timeless and I can't think of a better legacy for him to have left with us here as we prepare for our own party invite one day.




Richard Dawson. He will be missed.

Until next time, 
x's and o's, 
Eartha

13 comments:

Sara In AZ said...

I was sad to hear of Richard Dawson's passing. I remember watching the Family Feud back in the day too and getting a real kick out of him.

Really touching clip and completely perfect.

cheshirecat666 said...

uh...SOB!!!!! Wow,I never heard of or saw this before,totally amazing. I didn't even make it a third through before the tears came

Oh yeah,my Grandma and Aunt both WORSHIPED him,I think all old ladies did! He was such a huge part of our childhood TV memories/landscape,total icon

DearHelenHartman said...

Awww what a sweet clip for a sweet man.

Miriam said...

I love your version of Heaven. I hope it's just like that! I associate Perry Mason with my mother for the same reasons. She'd watch him religiously and we'd try to figure out who'd done it before the big reveal. :)

Rita@thissortaoldlife said...

Oh, I think both our grandmas will be waiting for him. Just last March I was watching Match Game with my mom (on TVLand, during spring break), and we had such a good time laughing at all of it and remembering the years when we watched game shows with my grandma. Yes, Richard Dawson was a favorite. Thanks so much for writing this sweet piece.

One Girl said...

Awesome Heaven visual!!! I love it! Family Feud has NEVER been the same. My granny and I would watch Carol Burnett and laugh and laugh. Good memories

Atomic Auntie said...

Survey says: He will be missed. Farewell, Mr. Dawson. I used to watch the Feud every day during summer vacation. Loved that man.

Vivian said...

Beautiful words in a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I have a comment but not in regards to this post (so you may not want to publish this, just read it.) :) I stumbled upon some Nashville thrift blogs awhile back as I am a Nashville thrifter and vintage lover and this was one of them. I have enjoyed reading it a lot! Since you like Mid Cen stuff (which is my love too), I wanted to put this out there. I found a very cool (although huge) walnut Drexel Declaration 2 piece office cabinet for not much $$ at a local thrift and I am heartsick that it go to someone who will love it and fix it up. We don't really have the space for it but I am sooo tempted... If no one else buys it I may have to go back later this week! AHH!! Save me from myself. LOL. If you or anyone you know is interested in it (it's local in Nash) you can email me and let me know and I will direct you to its location. coldlovingprose@yahoo.com :D TTFN -Michelle

Lisa said...

RIP, "Kissing Man". I remember first seeing him in reruns on the Game Show Network in college and all of us just thinking how adorably old fashioned it was for him to be "kissing on all the women". How sweet is your description of heaven with your grandma (and Porkchop!) right at the receiving line for Dawson!

peashells said...

Guess what his daughter, born in 1990, is named? Shannon Nicole! Coincidence? I think not!

Eartha Kitsch said...

Thanks everyone for your comments about the ole Kissing Man Richard. I thought you all might have some nostalgic memories of him too and I LOVED reading them.

peashells: That's SO awesome! I hadn't put those two together. How sweet.

Anonymous: Thanks! Wow, that sounds great! I know that my walls are unfortunately full but if you get it, please send me a picture. Or if you don't and are back there, and take a picture be sure and send it to me. I'll post in case anyone is interested. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

As an Australian, I never saw Family Feud with Richard as it never aired here, so it was wonderful to watch your clip and see him. I grew up in the 1970s watching Hogan's Heroes reruns and always thought Richard's character was one of the best in that cast. One of my work friends and I were talking about him the other day and she called him the "kissing man" which I'd never heard before, and she told me more about it (she's from Scotland, so perhaps they had Family Feud on TV, I must ask her) and now seeing this clip I realise I've missed out on being able to watch something special. Thanks so much for sharing that clip, it means a lot to me.