Friends, a little earlier today the Retroist made an announcement, down here in the Vault. It appears that Harry Anderson passed away today at age 65. I have to tell you in all honesty, I sat here in the control booth and had to fight back some tears. You see, Harry Anderson was indeed a role model for me in my youth. Thanks to his role as Judge Harold T. Stone in the hit NBC series, Night Court. I became a huge fan of magic, stylish hats, and of course the crooning of Mel Torme.
I truly idolized Anderson. I attempted to adopt his sense of humor in interviews and roles on television. As well as his style of clothing, soon after entering Junior High School, I was always sporting a fedora. Even his hair style is something I attempted to copy. My Family barber was rather taken aback when I brought in a photo of Anderson, asking him to style my hair in a similar fashion.
I suppose it was Harry Anderson’s craft in stage magic or illusion that endeared him to me the most. I was certainly surprised that I never caught any of his 8 appearances on Saturday Night Live. However I did manage to see him perform a few times on The Tonight Show. Like in this 1987 episode, where he entertains Johnny Carson and the audience with a levitation trick. One that was developed by Daniel Dunglas Home, an 19th century physical medium.
Kudos to Johnny Carson of course in that clip for knowing how to go to commercial in style. One of the things I also appreciated about Harry Anderson was his honesty. He never shied away from talking about his days as a con man. A street magician at the tender age of 17. A fast-talker much like the character he played in Cheers. All in all, he appeared in 6 episode as Harry ‘The Hat’ Gittes between 1982 and 1993.
From his roles in the 1988 remake of The Absent-Minded Professor, Tales from the Crypt, Stephen King’s It, as well as Dave’s World. I followed Anderson through them all and was always entertained. It’s hard to lose an idol but at the very least we have so many of his performances left behind to enjoy. Obviously we will dim the lights in the Vault’s auditorium in his honor.
Take a moment and enjoy Harry Anderson explaining how card tricks work. In addition while on the set of Night Court!
I was a big Night Court fan during its original run and I have tried watching it in re-runs since its run ended. The problem is that Night Court just doesn’t seem to get the re-run love it deserves. It was a great show with a great ensemble cast, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to appeal to the mainstream retro TV watching audience. Well my itch for Harry and friend got scratched when WB started releasing the series on DVD. Season 1-3 sailed into stores and into my DVD player and I waited patiently for season 4. I kept checking Amazon and my local retailers, but could find not trace of it. Then last week I open up the Warner Archive and what do I see…
Laughter’s in session as Criminal Court, Part II, State of New York dispenses justice and comedy in an uproarious Season 4 that adds opinionated bailiff Roz Russell (Marsha Warfield) to the oddball Night Court ensemble. You are hereby sentenced to 22 Hilarious Episodes on 4 Discs as wacky mcnacky Judge Stone (Harry Anderson) is seemingly bounced from the bench, randy-and-ready Dan (John Larroquette, in his third of four Emmy®-winning seasons for Outstanding Supporting Actor in comedy) is loved into a coma, public defender Christine (Markie Post) ends up wielding the gavel, Bull (Richard Moll) pens a controversial children’s book and court clerk Mac (Charles Robinson) goes into…labor? This is comedy that delivers.
As most Night Court fans will tell you, Season 3 is when the show really begins to hit its stride. It sure is sad that Selma Diamond passed away, but her replacement Florence Halop does a great job. As a fan you might remember that this is the season that introduces Christine, who in my opinion was a much better character then her predecessor Billy. What else starts here? Dan starts to take on dimensions, John Astin starts showing up regularly as Harry’s “crazy” father/stepfather and we get to meet Mac’s wife, Quan Le.
Here is the official release synopsis:
This season, life in Judge Harry Stone’s court starts with a tear (as the gang says farewell to Selma) and a horselaugh (as they welcome wiseacre Flo to the municipal menagerie). And it’s all fun from there in 22 absurdly hilarious episodes as Harry and his staff (including another newcomer, Legal Aid attorney Christine Sullivan) contend with New York’s zaniest nuts and dolts: the usual winos, weirdos, hookers and con artists, plus an orangutan, a rock star, a man from Saturn and a gorgeous witch who has Harry under her spell. The 3-Disc Set of Season 3 ends on a dark and stormy night, when four expectant moms fulfill their expectations with the panic-stricken assistance of the whole Night Court crew. Lullaby and good Night Court!
This is great classic television. I like it so much that I am having a Contest Giveaway of this season, so make sure you enter. If you don’t win, don’t fret. You can always pick up a copy of your very own on Amazon.
I was Night Court fan right up until the end. So I am pleased to announce that Night Court: The Complete Third Season came out on DVD on February 23rd. In this season, life in Judge Harry Stone’s court starts with a tear (as the gang says farewell to Selma) and a horselaugh (as they welcome wiseacre Flo to the municipal menagerie). And it’s all fun from there in 22 absurdly hilarious episodes as Harry and his staff (including another newcomer, Legal Aid attorney Christine Sullivan) contend with New York’s zaniest nuts and dolts: the usual winos, weirdos, hookers and con artists, plus an orangutan, a rock star, a man from Saturn and a gorgeous witch who has Harry under her spell. The 3-Disc Set of Season 3 ends on a dark and stormy night, when four expectant moms fulfill their expectations with the panic-stricken assistance of the whole Night Court crew. Lullaby and good Night Court!
In order to celebrate this release, we are giving away several copies of The Complete Third Season. Entry is open to anyone in the US and Canada. I will draw three random winners on March 8th and will contact the winners for their addresses. So please include your email address or other contact info so that I can contact you if you win. You may enter up to 6 times. Here is how:
Entry 1: Post a comment telling us why you’d like to win!
Entry 2: Post a link to this giveaway on the web and add a comment with the link included
Entry 3: Follow me on Twitter and add another comment with your Twitter name
Entry 4: Register and post in the TV Forum about a Night Court memory or just mention your favorite character
Entry 5: Friend me on Facebook and add a comment saying “Facebook Friend”
Entry 6: Email me OR DM me on Twiiter.