Sunday, July 29, 2007

Art Linkletter Has 95th Birthday Party

We live in a nation facing dark times. I'm referring, of course, to Lindsay Lohan's most recent troubles. Her assistant, who had the audacity and poor judgement to quit last week, prompted an adrenaline-fueled chase of first her and then her mother across Malibu while Lindsay's hapless pick-up for that night, Dante Nigro (proper spelling and name), held on for his dear trembling life while she kept threatening to kill the former employee. Apart from her subsequent arrest for Driving Under the Influence, the performance was a testimonial to the powers of Red Bull for its ability to stimulate reflex function while staving off drunken unconsciousness. I was reading all about it at TMZ, an important, socially redeeming web site devoted to celebrity analysis, when somehow I wound up on a page there which suggested that Art Linkletter is not only alive, but happy and well. This is nearly impossible, since he was born the year the Titanic sank. If true, it's encouraging.

For those of you who don't know Art Linkletter, he was the master of ceremonies when Disney World first opened in 1955. He is senior to Mickey Mouse by 16 years. One of the wealthiest men in Hollywood, he was the long-running host of two shows which transitioned from radio to TV, and he made part of his fortune by investing in the Hula Hoop. Noted for his ability to project positivity, he was an orphan raised by a protestant minister in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, naturally going from there to become an innovator in the development of TV programming and the originator of the show, "Kids Say the Darndest Things." The latter was a short-format feel-good precursor to today's YouTube and "Me Can Has Cheezburger?" content. He just published his 28th book, and has been married to his wife for 72 years. And he's still alive.

When I was 6 years old, Art Linkletter warned me of the dangers of LSD on a black and white TV because his daughter had jumped to her death from a window, flashbacks being a suspected culprit. To me, looked like a retiree back then with a few good years left on him. Now he's cracking wise, tanned, wearing a tweed jacket in his air conditioned mansion, and having his birthday party covered by TMZ.

Happy Birthday, Art! Glad you're still here. Maybe you can do a public service announcement for Lindsay Lohan. She needs one. Remember, the older you get, the younger we'll feel! =)

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