Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Friends of Vanessa Marquez Memorial

It has been a little over three weeks since actress Vanessa Marquez, who played Ana Delgado in the classic Stand and Deliver (1988) and Nurse Wendy on the TV show ER, has died. Since then I have been reminded just how many fans she has. There has been an outpouring of love for her from around the world. This makes me very happy. I always thought that Vanessa felt she was underappreciated, even forgotten, despite my claims to the contrary. She certainly was not forgotten. Indeed, in his comic strip La Cucaracha acclaimed cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz did a tribute to her. You can see it here. I thanked. Mr. Alcaraz, a man I greatly admire, for paying tribute to a woman I love so.

As to myself, the past three weeks have been hard on me. I have described Vanessa as an extremely close friend or dear friend, but the fact is that she was my best friend. To make things worse, I was and still am very much in love with her. I can't speak for how Vanessa felt, but for me she was the centre of my universe. I miss hearing her voice on the phone, texting with her, and interacting with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I miss her terribly, and I have cried every single day since her death.

Today the Friends of Vanessa Marquez Memorial is being held in Arroyo Park in South Pasadena, California from 10:00 AM PDT to 2:00 PM PDT. It was organised by Cheryl Hansen and others to honour the memory of Vanessa. Being here in Missouri I cannot attend (a fact which causes me no little bit of pain), although I will be present in spirit. The songs "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "In My Life" will be performed (Vanessa was a huge fan of both The Wizard of Oz and The Beatles) because of my suggestions. I bought flowers that a friend will take to the memorial. I also wrote a short piece that will be read at the memorial. I kept it brief as I know many will want to speak. And because this is Vanessa's memorial, I only addressed my feelings for her in the very last part. It is as follows:

"Vanessa often said that her name meant 'butterfly', and the name certainly fit her. Like a butterfly, Vanessa was beautiful, tiny, and fragile-looking. But also like a butterfly, she had hidden strength that might not be obvious by simply looking at her. Vanessa had the strength to persevere through hardships, through being blacklisted as an actress, and through her terminal illness. She often lent that strength to her friends and that strength was among the many reasons we loved her. She was always there in times of need, always there to support her friends when they were down, and always swift to defend them. When I was sad or depressed, Vanessa was always the first to comfort me. Among her many friends in the Turner Classic Movies fan community she was considered 'the Sweetheart of #TCMParty'. She was a kind, considerate, generous, gracious, and vibrant woman. It was little wonder she had so many friends who loved her so. I count myself among them and I feel lucky to have known her. Vanessa, I don't know if you can hear me, but let me say that I have always loved you and I always will. "

While today I will be here in Missouri come 10:00 AM PDT, my heart will be in California.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The 40th Anniversary of WKRP in Cincinnati

Forty years ago today, on September 18 1978, WKRP in Cincinnati debuted on CBS at 8:00 PM Eastern/7:00 PM Central.  The show would prove to be popular enough to survive being moved to perhaps more time slots than any other show in history (it would at least be in the top five for being moved the most times). It proved extremely popular in syndication, so much so that it became MTM's most popular show as a syndicated rerun, beating out such heavyweights as The Bob Newhart Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. It would also become one of my favourite situation comedies of all time and I still watch it to this day. In August 2017 I wrote a detailed history of the show, which you can read here.