Sunday, April 06, 2008

Charlton Heston 1924-2008

This morning, as America awoke, we learned that Charlton Heston passed away. At 83 and a long time Alzheimer’s victim the news was not surprising. But, expected as it was, the news of Mr. Heston’s passing was none the less most saddening.

No Baby Boomer will ever forget Heston’s most famous film roles. The ABC affiliates in Iowa (maybe nationally) played Ten Commandments on Easter every year. No commercials, just an intermission about two hours in. Of course, reality TV has made the broadcast of such classics. our culture would be far improved with more Charlton Heston movies on network air and far less reality, pornographic night time soaps and sitcoms.

“55 days in Peking” was my favorite Heston role, even more so than his portrayal of a human who speaks words in “Planet of the Apes”. Tough, understated and courageous, with a heart of gold, Heston’s Marine Corps. Major Matt Lewis represented the very best in America (back in the days when film was considered that portrayed the United States beauty rather than the depressing obsession with our occasional, random and rare faults).

Although hardly as heralded, "Chuck's" role as himself in the Bud Light commercials empowered a whole new generation to take their Bud right out of the bottle, even when in black tie. Now that is an achievment.

Heston’s political activism also mirrored America itself. In the 60s and early 70s Heston was a loud advocate for racial civil rights and reasonable gun control. When the civil rights movement centered on the disingenuous pandering of affirmative action and gun control became a screeching cry that for the prohibition and confiscation of all the evil guns, Heston changed with times and became a leading conservative activist.

Heston’s role as a spokesman for the civil rights of gun owners had more impact on the real world than did the dozens of movies in which he performed. Without Heston, Bill Spiers would have, perhaps, not had that lawful handgun with which to defend himself and Des Moines would be mourning the senseless murder of another pizza driver.

Charlton Heston-they just don’t make ‘em like him anymore.


Anonymous said...

Get your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they pried his cold dead fingers from his musket? (Check out the Onion if you haven't yet)

Anonymous said...

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