Schneider, Bowie and the Tall Man

11 Jan

Two iconic people from my youth died this past week and it seems appropriate to mention them here.

-Oops. Last night happened and this morning the world awoke to news of the passing of David Bowie, probably one of the most iconic personas in the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st.

Pat Harrington…

“Dear Friends, it is with the most unimaginable pain and sadness, that I tell you my father, Pat Harrington, Jr. passed away at 11:09 PM this evening. ”

-From the Facebook post of Pat’s daughter, Tresa Harrington, announcing the passing of her father

Pat was best known (by me at least) for his portrayal of Schneider, the building handyman in One Day at a Time, the show that made stars of Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertonelli (who I only recently learned was born in my hometown of Wilmington, Delaware-assuming that’s true), and MacKenzie Phillips (Daughter of Mamas and the Papas, Papa John (Phillips))


Angus Scrimm …

Perhaps less well known is Angus Scrimm known for playing the Tall man in the Phantasm series.

Phantasm director Don Coscarelli beautifully wrote, “Angus Scrimm passed away peacefully tonight surrounded by his friends and loved ones. He was 89 years old. His performance as the Tall Man is a towering achievement in horror film history. He was the last in a long line of classic horror movie stars. Angus was a terrific actor and an even better friend. He will be missed.

Phantasm is a unique film. It cost $300,000 to make and grossed $12M in domestic sales, which doesn’t exactly put it in the blockbuster camp, although it was definitely a good ROI for its producers. More than anything, Phantasm had iconic images. The Tall Man’s menacing appearance (see below) as well as his fantastic feats of strength and minimal close contact with his prey all serve to amplify the character’s presence as an object of fear.


I don’t have anything new to add about David Bowie other than to say that I was a lifelong fan – literally, because his career  began four years before I was born. I did get to see him in the late 1990s in Philadelphia’s Electric Factory and, even that lat in his career, he was a powerful stage presence and his voice was as awesome as any I have heard live.

And, for good measure a tribute from one late musician to another…




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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Uncategorized


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