Friday, June 6, 2008

The One-Eyed Hall of Fame

Presenting One-Eyed Wonders Throughout Pop Culture

Sammy Davis Jr.
The Elvis Presley of one-eyed performers (Elvis would have been the Elvis of one-eyed performers but he had two eyes). Let's just say the King of one-eyed performers. Sammy was a triple threat; he could sing, dance and act. An Emmy and Grammy award winning performer, he got to hang out with Frank and Dean and dated Kim Novak, easily one of the hottest women of the mid 20th Century. To top it off, he had a smoking hot wife from Sweden. I guess blondes dig one eyed guys.

Sandy Duncan
Which brings us to our next Hall of Famer. The day that Sammy died (May 16, 1990), I learned of his passing through a phone call from my friend Colin. Instead of telling me that Sammy had died, Colin said "Mike, you want to make a lot of money? Go over to Penn Station and sell Sandy Duncan tee shirts." "Why," I asked, "did she die?" "No," he replied, "She's now America's number 1 0ne-eyed singer, dancer entertainer." Pretty much that's all you need to know about Sandy Duncan.

Peter Falk
Award winning actor (2 Oscars, 5 Emmys, 1 Golden Globe), famous for his portrayal of Los Angeles homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo. In his 2006 autobiography, Falk tells the story of getting into an argument in high school with an umpire during a baseball game. As Falk tells it, he removed his glass eye and handed it to the umpire saying "You'll do better with this one."

Moshe Dayan
Check this dude out, not only does he have one eye - he wears an eye patch! No wonder he was in charge of Israel's Military. He looks like he's ready to kick some Arab ass doesn't he?

That kid in Third Grade with Lazy Eye
Everyone had one in their class. You may not remember the name, but the sight of that boy or girl who wore glasses and an eye patch is something you'll always remember.

Dick Vitale
Easily one of the most famous sportscasters since the Great Cosell (who, unfortunately for the sake of this post, had two eyes) and certainly the most famous basketball commentator in the world. That's right baby, he has one eye!

Jack Elam
Character actor with a long career of playing ornery crazy-ass types in Westerns. He was perfectly cast thanks to that crazy bug-eye.

Art Tatum
Jazz pianist. Although dying at the young age of 47, he influenced and inspired a generation of Jazz musicians. Fortunately he had two good hands.

Claude Rains
Diminutive (5'3") British character actor. Pictured in the role of Lt Renault from Casablanca. Rain's costar in that film, Humphrey Bogart, despite his famous squint, had two good eyes.

Theodore Roosevelt
26th President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize winner. At 42, the youngest person to become President, TR was blinded while taking part in a boxing match at the White House. His injury was kept a secret. He accomplished more with one eye, than many subsequent two-eyed presidents.

James Thurber
American humorist, author and cartoonist most closely associated with The New Yorker magazine. His most famous work, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, was made into a movie starring two-eyed entertainer Danny Kaye.

Tex Avery
Pioneering animator, cartoonist, director and Michael Salzmann look-a-like (that's a private joke). Avery worked for MGM and Warner Brothers where he created Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck among others. Avery is responsible for Bugs' famous catchphrase, "What's Up, Doc?"

The Hathaway Man
Character featured in a series of advertisements for Hathaway shirts in the 1950's. In one of those pieces of irony that we love so much, the model who portrayed him, Baron George Wrangell, was a Russian aristocrat with 20/20 vision.

Popeye the Sailor
Whether or not he really has only one eye, or is just perpetually squinted from looking through a naval telescope is any body's guess.


  1. Michael Avery Holiday SalzmannJune 10, 2008 at 1:13 PM

    GREAT ! Now the whole world knows my terrible secret ! I am the love child of Tex Avery and pioneering songstress Billie Holiday. When the smack got too much for her, poppa would bring her down with some homespun lovin. " Cartoon man, that you cartoon man ??" she would wonder until Daddy would give her some sugar. He died a broken man, knowing that he had been replaced by Billy Dee Williams in the largely fictionalized account of Momma's life. Hollywood is a cold cruel mistress ..

  2. I can't remember for sure where I read it (possibly in Jeff Rovin's 'Encyclopedia of Super-heroes') that Popeye had said (perhaps in 'Thimble Theater') that he had lost his eye in the worst fight of his life... it was also stated that he had over 30 bullets in his body, so apparently before he met Olive, he led a pretty rough life, and Bluto/Brutus hasn't ever been able to give him a beating like he had in his past