RIP Harold Gould

The ultra-reliable, seemingly born middle-aged character actor, who earned a doctorate in theater and appeared in a film notable movies and countless TV shows (he has over 191 credits on IMDb), passed on this weekend at age 86.

Such is the lot of the supporting performer that the only clips I could find from Harold Gould’s best known role are bits and pieces of longer clips from “The Sting.” However, if you watch the first couple of minutes of this embed, you’ll get a nice glimpse of the underplayed authority and compassionate humor Gould brought to¬† all of his roles as highly skilled confidence professional Kid Twist chats with a low-achieving grifter.

As a very young person, “The Sting” was one of the movies that really hooked me on the movies. Nevertheless, as an older person who’s now seen a lot of movies, I have to admit that, “You’ve got moxie, Erie” isn’t exactly the freshest dialogue. (Sorry, David S. Ward.) Even so, Gould made it mean something.

Sadly, embeddable clips of Gould as the kindly father of Mary Tyler Moore spin-off protagonist Rhoda (Valerie Harper) or the conniving but kindly dad (if I’m remembering right) of Richie¬† Brockleman or as the kindly and very Jewish hospital roommate of Billy Crystal’s character in “Soap” are just as hard to come by as good movie clips of Gould. Never mind, the man lives forever in the memory of those of us who’ve spent way too much time in front of illuminated screens.

  

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An A to Z of Last-Minute Gifts for the TV Geek in Your Life

Got a TV geek on your Christmas list but don’t know what to get them because you’re petrified that they might already have all the obvious picks? As someone who falls into that demographic (and therefore has to make a very explicit list for my family every year), I understand where you’re coming from, so please allow me to do my part to help but you and the poor bastard you’re waiting ’til the last second to shop for. Sure, the list is a little all-over-the-place, but all of these items have landed in stores since last Christmas, and…hey, at least it’s in alphabetical order!

1. Adam 12: Season Two – Rescued from Universal’s indifference by the good folks at Shout! Factory, it holds up about as well as any show produced by Jack Webb (which is to say that the acting is more than a little stilted), but it’s been tricked out with commentaries from actual Los Angeles police officers, which make for entertaining and interesting listening.

2. Beauty and the Beast: The Complete Series – Ron Perlman may be best known these days for his work in FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” and the “Hellboy” franchise, just as Linda Hamilton is probably destined to be remembered as the definitive Sarah Connor, but once upon a time, they were the stars of a rather unlikely romance on CBS. This complete-series set offers little new for those who’ve already purchased the individual season sets except an interactive trivia game, some “newly reconstructed love letters” from Vincent which don’t sound like they’re being read by Perlman, and a nice looking box, but it’s a strange, fanciful, and romantic show that your mom, wife, sister, or…oh, hell, even you might like it.

3. Comedy Central’s TV Funhouse – Given that it takes the style of a kids show from the early ’70s and blends it with dark, surreal, and sometimes downright filthy humor, it’s only halfway surprising that this series didn’t find a following, but it will undoubtedly come to be remembered as one of the great lost comedy classics of the decade. Robert Smigel obsessives will notice that a few things are missing from the show’s original airing, but there’s still plenty here to make you laugh and groan for hours.

4. Drak Pak: The Complete Series – Sometimes, you include an item for personal reasons, but the idea of the kids of Dracula, the Wolfman, and Frankenstein’s Monster teaming up to form a crime-fighting team that battles against a guy who looks suspiciously like Vincent Price is one that had me watching every Saturday morning. Sadly, it only lasted a single season, and watching it now, I can kind of see why, but it’s still a fun flashback for those who remember the show from its original run.

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