Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rant #752: "It's Not Unusual," Eddie

Two people who have enlivened Baby Boomers' lives are celebrating birthdays today, and my, how the time has flown.

Today, singer Tom Jones is 72 and actor Ken Osmond is 69.

Jones is the rugged-looking Welsh performer who first came onto the American scene in the mid-1960s with hits like "What's New Pussycat," "It's Not Unusual" and "Thunderball."

His very presence turned many women into virtual wrecks, throwing their undergarments on stage to try to dazzle him.

His sex symbol phase continued with his weekly show, "Tom Jones," where he sung and shook like no one, except perhaps Elvis Presley.

The hits continued into the 1970s, including "Daughter of Darkness" and "She's a Lady," and while he is pretty much thought of as little more than an oldies performer now, making a good living in Las Vegas, he continues to record new material in Europe, where he and Cliff Richard are pretty much the standard bearers for old school rock and pop.

He recently came out with a new album mixing rock, pop and religion, and he actively promotes that album in Europe, where his icon status has never wavered.

No, he doesn't wear those tight pants anymore, but yes, the women--and many men--still get into his music.

Osmond may be a somewhat lesser name, but he was the first bad boy on TV, predating all the younger villains that followed him.

But he really wasn't all that bad, was he?

As Eddie Haskell on "Leave It To Beaver," Haskell was the devil to Beaver and Wally's angels. He was the guy who said "do it," and that's where the trouble usually began.

He was a slinky looking kid, a boaster who talked more than he carried out what he wanted everyone else to to. He hooked up with Wally because Wally was better looking, a better athlete, and got all the girls. Eddie wasn't any of these, but his hookup with Wally made him almost feel that he was Wally's equal.

And in the Beav, he had a younger foil to do his dastardly deeds with.

And, of course, Ward and June Cleaver rolled their eyes whenever Haskell gave them a compliment. They saw through him, and knew he was sucking up to them big time.

That portrayal was right on, but Osmond had much more to do in life than just act.

When that pretty much dried up, Osmond became a real life Los Angeles police officer. He was shot on the job, and left the police force in the 1980s.

He also fought, and lost, a fight against late porn king John Holmes, who ads claimed was actually Eddie Haskell. Believe it or not, the judgment ruled against Osmond, because, at least in part, Holmes did not make the claims himself, although he never denied them.

Go figure.

There was also a rumor that Osmond, as an adult, morphed into Alice Cooper, but that was nothing more than an urban legend.

Osmond is in real estate now, and returns to acting on occasion.

But anyway, happy birthday to Jones and Osmond. They have added to our lives and will always be remembered by the Baby Boomers as icons of our clan.

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