It has been a trying month with the passing of sportscaster Ted Reynolds, ace announcer Al Jordan and musician/businessman Arnie Nelson. I was one of the many speakers at Arnie’s tribute. It was nice to see so many media people in attendance. Many had worked with Arnie during his career: former CKNW General Manager Bill Hughes, Canada Wide magazine publisher Peter Legge and former partner Neil Soper. Former radio production and sales people also came out to say goodbye. Two members of Arnie’s family spoke about their dad and their love for him. One of the best salutes came from the B.C. Country Music Association’s Elmer Tippe, who made it possible for Arnie’s induction into their Hall of Fame. Arnie is also in the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame as a Pioneer. It was a great send-off for a man who helped so many during his lifetime. If a man can be judged by his friends and family Arnie gets top marks.
It is indeed strange that deaths in show business seem to come in threes. This past week we lost Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon and Michael Jackson.
News of Michael’s death swept the world through all available media. I know I spent almost a whole day talking to various media about his influence and his legacy in the world of entertainment. I never did meet him or interview him but from where I sit he had to be considered one of the greatest entertainers of all time. I sincerely hope that his weirdness near the end of his life is not all he is remembered for.
In my mind, his music and showmanship will live on for generations. Like Elvis of an earlier time, he seemed bigger than life, and maybe that was the problem. We should not make them so “big” they cannot live normal lives. Neither performer could go out in public for fear of being mobbed or worse. In the end maybe they become prisoners of their own fame.
I met Ed McMahon years ago and he was a true professional and a warm human being. He will always be remembered for his introduction to Johnny Carson: “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny”. All three will be missed.