Note from Sarah: This is a guest post from my wonderful husband, Josh. This week, his childhood favorite comedian, Jonathan Winters, passed away, and Josh asked me if he could write something in memoriam, saying that Jonathan Winters was his Judy Blume. If you're so inclined, you can follow Josh on frequently-updated Tumblr or stalk him on his rarely-used Twitter account.
With a few keystrokes, I can see that night was January 15 1980. Until I looked that up, it was just sometime when I was 5 or 6, or maybe even 7. I loved him, his maniac energy, his silly voices, and his larger than life presence were mesmerizing. This was someone who was silly, goofy and--my god--he was from DAYTON!
This guy was from Dayton. Someone from where I was from was amazing and funny. This was my new hero, someone who made me laugh and who had the same points of reference I did.
At some point I realized "What? he was actually from Springfield!" Even closer, where the mall was! He could have gone to the same theatre as me to see ET (this was in point of fact impossible since the mall was a long way off when he was there, but it didn't matter to my six-year-old).
I bugged my dad about more stories, learned how he studied art at the Museum, where I thought for the longest time he must have just walked around and looked at the pictures and drew them (funny I now ply my trade at is essentially one of these Museum schools). At the time is sounded like the education of a genius, and it still kind of does. I learned about his time on WHIO Radio, how he acted like a goofball on the air.
I was a weird kid and I was proud that Jonathan Winters was a Reds fan like me.