Recent celebrity deaths have made me appreciate the autographs I've obtained over the years. On the PSA message boards, when an athlete dies, I often read “my childhood is now gone,” or something along those lines. For the longest time, I could never fully understand what that meant. Maybe because at the time I didn’t have any of my childhood idols die. All the stars I liked were still living.
That all changed when Michael Jackson died in 2009. Robin Williams death was also a hard one to deal with, as I loved watching “Mork and Mindy” as a kid and yelling “Nu Nu!” in the school yard. The past year was especially hard when many of my favorite musicians passed. Lemmy of Motorhead, David Bowie, and Prince, were staples of my teen years. My first Hollywood crush, Carrie Fisher, passed away after Christmas. A few months later, Erin Moran of “Happy Days,” and now the passing of Adam West.
As with many unfortunate deaths, I look at some of my autographs I acquired throughout the years. I was lucky to get John Ritter on a Buffy Trading card through-the-mail before his untimely death. I had always loved him on “Three’s Company” but it was his Ted character- a haunting evil villain in one episode that will stick with me. It proved that he was not just a great comedian but also a great dramatic character that he never got credit for.
Adam West was another notable loss for me. I had a pleasure of getting his autograph through-the-mail, a few years back. Sending him this 1966 Topps Batman trading card was a gamble, but Mr. West kindly returned it to me signed and inscribed. I had it certified PSA/DNA, and it is a corner piece of my collection. As much as I like the Batman movies, it’s the low budget campy TV show that was a fixture of my youth in reruns. And, it was 1966, they didn’t have a lot to go on in terms of high tech , special effects we’re so spoiled with today. To me, Adam West was and is Batman.
I remember getting Larry Hagman's autograph in-person at a convention, not once, but twice - one to sign his 1981 Donruss Dallas rookie card, and another, a photo of him and my all-time favorite, Barbara Eden. (I later got Eden to sign it as well.) I always loved watching “I Dream of Jeannie” in reruns, and since I got the entire season, I enjoy watching the DVD’s.
I could go on and on, but this shows that the autographs often help preserve the memory and legacies of these celebrities. They may be gone, but I will always have a connection with them. Getting the autographs of my favorite stars is often a completion of my childhood, no matter how old I get.
Stone Cold Rick
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