Monday, May 26, 2008

Dick Martin

Dick Martin, one half of the Rowan and Martin comedy team, died Saturday from respiratory complications at a Santa Monica hospital. He was 86.

(Photo: Dan Rowan, Pres. Richard Nixon, Dick Martin)

Martin partnered with Dan Rowan in 1952 and worked the nightclub circuit. Dick Martin played the dopey, wisecracking, smart-ass, while Rowan played straight man. In 1968, the team scored a spot on NBC with the very controversial comedy show, Laugh-In, which ran for 140 episodes until cancellation in 1973. A reborn vaudeville shoe, Laugh-In made stars of Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Jo Anne Worley, Judy Carne, and Gary Owens, and created such catchphrases as "Sock it to me!", "Here come de judge", "Wanna walnetto?", "Verrry interesting", and "You bet your sweet bippy".

During the September 16, 1968 episode, presidential candidate, Richard Nixon, appeared on the show saying disbelievingly "Sock it to me?" His opponent, Hubert H. Humphrey declined an invitation to appear, later saying that the decision may have cost him the election. Since then, presidential candidates have made appearances on the popular comedy shows of the day.

Laugh-In was a very topical satire show that drew from the subjects of the day. During that time, over-population was the global warming that was going to destroy the planet. During the opening routine of one show, Dan Rowan was explaining that the population of Earth was growing to catastrophic proportions, that there would not be enough space or food for all the billions of people. Dick Martin was incredulous and dismissive. Trying to convince Dick of the danger of the exploding birthrate, Dan said, "Every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, a woman is giving birth." Suddenly convinced, Dick said, "Well, we've got to find that woman and stop her!"

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

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