Saturday, November 24, 2012

One of My Heroes died this week… Larry Hagman is gone – so is another era

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One of My Heroes died this week… Larry Hagman is gone – so is another era
Today as I read the news it was a kind of a reflective moment as I again heard (read) of another giant passing. Larry Hagman died at 81 years old.

The moment is ‘reflective’ for me in that more and more people that from ‘my generation’ are passing away. As I stare at the stories after reading them I think back to the times the person was involved with me as one of my entertainers… one of people that acted a character that I followed, ‘admiring’ them or ‘hating’ them.  Some of the characters or personages were definitely one way or the other.

Larry Hagman was both for me and most of my generation.

When he first arrived on the TV Scene for me he was an astronaut that was always trying to prove to a Psychologist that was given the work load to see if Larry was sane – or not. On the program he was always in trouble because someone that tried to help him, messed with him and all the things around him… making the Psychologist sure that he was as crazy as a bed bug.

This show was happening between 1965 and 1970.  And on that show Larry Hagman’s problem as he played “Major Anthony Nelson” – the astronaut that had found the small bottle that contained ‘Jeannie’.  His finding the bottle and releasing her made sure that she would serve him in any way he would like. He could be wealthy, healthy and wise – or whatever.  He could order up anything her wanted as she blinked it into existence. Most of the time he slipped up by saying something that ‘Jeannie’ would hear and then take care of – instantly.

‘Jeannie’ was every man’s dream, a woman who would do anything for him at his slightest beck and call. She would do anything to please her ‘Master’- even if it caused him great problems.  And unlike the other kind of Big Blue or Green Genies that had been these men’s lives as boys – who only granted three wishes before they were freed…. ‘Jeannie” stayed on.

Remember there was no sexual interaction between ‘Jeannie’ and ‘Major Anthony Nelson’.  Though she was always dressed in sexy ways for the imagination of 1965 - 1970 men… and they may well have dreamed of their own wives being a ‘Jeannie’.

What a hugely Sexist story… a nightmare for Women’s Rights people at that time. A problem for newlyweds as well. 

Alida and I were married in 1967 – two years after Major Anthony and Jeannie were doing their stuff on TV. For two years I was dreaming of having my own Jeannie – only to find out I was married to Alida – who was definitely NOT A ‘JEANNIE’.  Alida knew that I was capable to get the tasks done myself and she refused to jump at my every beck and call!

Oh Boy!  How many men did the “I dream of Jeannie” show mess up? How many couples had problems with the depiction of insanity the way Larry Hagman was able to get us to believe?

But then when this show stopped Larry was not seen again until he surfaced as ‘J.R.’- actually ‘J.R. Ewing’ that the whole of the TV Watching World thought that he was a complete idiot.  We all watched as the most wealthy man ever acted out, controlled and manipulated people around him. He destroyed people at a whim and in any one of his many sullen, angry and hateful moments in his life.

‘J.R. Ewing’ was the model for an ‘abusive man’- a poster boy for the things abusive people did to others.  While seemingly in love with his wife and family he did the worst things possible with his affairs and ridiculous living.

Now remember that the story of ‘Dallas’ in the TV depiction of ‘J.R.’ is taking place in part of the USA’s Bible Belt – in the real world.  A place where the strictest kinds of Christianity were in full practice. And during the 1978 to 1991 – for 13 years ‘J. R,’ ruled the roost as anything but a Christian Man example.

But most of all as a Minister I witnessed men acting out the role ‘J.R.’ in their families in real life arenas.

Nope it wasn’t Larry Hagman’s problem, nor Hollywood’s problem… abuse and stupid living were very much part of that era in normal people’s lives.  “Dallas”, the TV Program and series, simply showed the world what nasty men were really like.

I doubt that Larry Hagman was anything like his TV Personalities.  Larry was just real good at acting whatever part he was given.

On the side, Larry was the son of a famous Movie Star, Mary Martin… who was in her own right someone very special and unique.

Today another ‘hero’ of my generation is gone.  Who and what will come next?

‘Skyfall’ is the most recent Theatre Movie with yet another ‘James Bond’ doing his stuff.  And all the ‘James Bond’ men/actors will die someday.  I wonder if any of them will have represented their generation the way that Larry Hagman did?

But then when you go to the TV shows that are on right now… who would you pick as being representative of the ‘now generation’?  My generation had ‘some’ not so good things about it.  When I click the channels today – there are way more than ‘some’ not so good things. Yikes!!!

Goodbye Larry Hagman.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
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