If you Google Carl Reiner you’ll be taken to a video of the 96 year old television pioneer talking about very current affairs. Essentially Reiner says that despite being born in 1922 and having lived through the Great Depression and despite having served in the US military in World War II; nothing has prepared him for Donald Trump with his lies and hatemongering. Reiner urges Americans to get out and vote in the midterms, adding that he hopes to live to be 98 so he can vote Trump out of office.
Seeing Carl Reiner is like seeing the history of television. When we got our 17 inch Admiral TV in 1952, Carl Reiner was already a household word as a lead writer and comic performer on a variety show called Your Show of Shows starring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Fellow writers on the show included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon and Larry Gelbart. Combined, this quartet of comic geniuses went on to wildly successful careers in stage, film and television. The executive producer of the Show of Shows, by the way, was Pat Weaver, father to actress Sigourney Weaver and who was the founder of both the Today show (still on NBC after 66 years) and the Tonight Show, forerunner to the current Jimmy Fallon version which has been on the air for 64 years.
After the Show of Shows was cancelled Reiner continued to write and perform in television, and in 1960 he created the Dick Van Dyke Show acting as producer, writer and sometime performer. The show became the most popular sitcom of its day. Later Reiner directed all of Steve Martin’s early films, and he teamed up again with Mel Brooks to create the 2000 Year old man. Reiner is popping up in movies and TV shows right up to the present. All in all an incredible career.
The unspeakable murders in a Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh, got me trying to understand why there has been such a recent uptick in anti-Semitic violence. I was reminded of Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song (Google it). The song consists essentially of a list of famous people who are Jews—Ann Landers. Three Stooges, David Lee Roth, Captain Kirk and Mr Spock, Bowser and the Fonz, Dinah Shore (in addition to the aforementioned Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Sid Caesar and Larry Gelbart). There are so many famous accomplished Jews that Sandler has recorded several versions of the song to include as many as possible. The song is funny to be sure, but one can also take from it the subtext that so many of the people we love and admire in show business the arts, academia, science are Jews, who have done nothing but make the world a more livable place; underlining the utter mindlessness and evil that led to the Pittsburgh slaughter and the atrocities of the past.