The loss of Christopher Lee is sad and would be for me even if the only thing I knew him from was that version of Dracula that gave me nightmares when I was a kid. As a teenager I appreciated it much more when I watched it again in my bedroom very late one night. It was almost as much fun as the less well-known Doctor Terror’s House of Horrors, in which Lee plays a critic menaced by…well, I won’t give it away. It’s just brilliant. If Lee’s passing is what finally prompts a proper U.S. DVD or Blu-Ray release of Doctor Terror’s House of Horrors it will be bittersweet.
I didn’t realize it was the same actor at the time but Lee also played a brilliant mad scientist in Gremlins 2, holding his own against the Brain Gremlin. If you’ve seen Gremlins 2 you know that’s no mean feat. If you haven’t seen it you should.
Hail and farewell Christopher Lee.
Less publicized is the loss of Ron Moody. Most people will recognize him as Fagin from Oliver! For me he’ll always be Rothgo, the all-powerful wizard who’s lost his powers in Into The Labyrinth, a British series that ran on Nickelodeon in the early ‘80’s. My friend Andi and I would watch it together. Into The Labyrinth was part of Nick’s “The Third Eye”, a compilation of British and New Zealand supernatural series for children. For some reason Into The Labyrinth was the only one Andi and I watched together. She loved it. From Into The Labyrinth I learned that “souvenir” is French for “memory”.
A few years later Andi would succumb to cancer at the age of twenty-five.
Into The Labyrinth remains one of my favorite souvenirs of Andi, and of Ron Moody too.
Hail and farewell Ron Moody.
A souvenir of Christopher Lee:
And Into The Labyrinth in its entirety, a souvenir of Ron Moody:
That’s a nice way to remember them both.
Thanks. I love being able to include videos. It’s a great way to take a trip down memory lane.
Ugh, the feels. You just threw in the line about your friend Andi dying at age 25. I actually read this last night but couldn’t comment at that moment. What did she die of? I can’t help but wonder. Quit making me feel sad feelings! OK, you don’t have to do that, but seriously, some advance warning would be nice. Like, “Please drink some wine or get a tissue ready before reading this post.”
It’s a bad habit of mine to catch people completely off guard. Andi had skin cancer. I didn’t intend for it to sound like something I just threw in. The loss of Ron Moody reminded me that he was in Into The Labyrinth, a show Andi and I shared. We were also both Doctor Who fans . I still enjoy going back and watching the old shows we watched together, but it’s a mixed emotion. The memories are happy, but tinged with sadness because of the loss.
Let me get you some wine.
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Amazing souvenirs in this post, Christopher.
Thank you. I think Donne was only partly right when he said, “Any man’s death diminishes me.” We are diminished, but the losses also crystallize the souvenirs we carry forward.