Saturday, September 27, 2014


Twilight Zone immortal Don Keefer, 98, died on September 7, it was announced.

Keefer made many appearances on stage, film, and television, but it was that immortal 1961 episode, "It's a Good Life," for which he will always be remembered.

You know this episode: It was the one where this monster of a kid, Anthony Fremont, played by adorable Billy Mumy (who else?), could literally obliterate anybody by a mere wish. If a person was not happy with one thing or another, Mumy would wish them off into the "corn field" and nobody would ever see that person again. Same would happen to objects and animals that displeased the little brat--er, sweet kid.

The episode was about totalitarianism and was actually fairly terrifying. The climax of the episode was the birthday party of Don Keefer's character. Don wanted to play his Perry Como record, but as I recall there was no way to play it. He got drunk and started getting angry at the Fremont family. Well, Anthony started getting that look in his eyes, and...

“You monster, you,” he says, staring at Anthony. “You dirty little monster! You murderer! You think about me. Go ahead, Anthony. You think bad thoughts about me, and maybe some man in this room, some man with guts, somebody who’s so sick to death of living in this kind of place and willing to take a chance, will sneak up behind you and lay something heavy across your skull and end this once and for all.”

No one does, and Anthony, as always, has his way.

“You’re a bad man,” Anthony says. “You’re a very bad man, and you keep thinking bad thoughts about me.”

With that, he points at Hollis and turns him into a jack-in-the-box, his cone-capped head bobbing on a spring.

The past month or so we've seen the deaths of at least three actors who had unforgettable roles in the classic series: Arlene Sax ("Twenty-Two"), Richard Kiel ("To Serve Man"), and now Don Keefer.


James A. Traficant, Jr., a former congressman who got embroiled in scandal, has died at 73 following injuries sustained in a tractor accident:

Many Washington insiders regarded Mr. Traficant as an uncouth scoundrel, but he remained popular in his home district, where he was easily reelected eight times.

“He looked less smart than he was,” a former press secretary, Charles Straub, told the New Yorker in 2002. “It put people off guard. It was part of his mystique as just an average citizen. But he was a very shrewd politician.”

Mr. Traficant tended to ignore the legislative initiatives of his nominal party, the Democrats, and in 2001 voted for Illinois Republican J. Dennis Hastert as House speaker. The Democratic leadership then stripped Mr. Traficant of his seniority and took away his committee assignments.


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