Monday, September 8, 2008

Mr. Mike's Guide to Misters Part 2

With special thanks to everyone who pointed out the inadequacies in my previous "Mister" post...

Mr. Magoo - Visually impaired cartoon character voiced by Jim Backus. Ah for those glorious days of old when you could make fun of a blind person and insult the Chinese (remember Mr. Magoo's Chinese houseboy, Charley) in one wonderful 10 minute children's cartoon.

Mr. Howell - Speaking of Jim Backus - let's not forget our favorite marooned millionaire, Thurston Howell III, who proved that class systems exist in even the smallest social structures

Mr. Warmth - Don Rickles - you have to admire a man who's made a 50+ year career out of basically pissing people off. But he insults everyone so it's OK. His big break came when Frank Sinatra came to see his show and he said "Make yourself at home, Frank. Hit somebody." Instead of having him beat up, Sinatra liked him so much he spread the word among his show biz pals.

Mr. Belvedere - famous butler who first appeared in novel form in 1947, then a series of movies starring Clifton Webb and finally a 1980's TV show starring Christopher Hewett. One of my goals in life is to have my own gentleman's gentleman.

Mr. French - while we're on the subject of butlers let's not forget the one portrayed by Sebastian Cabot on the 1960's comedy Family Affair. Have you ever taken a good look at Sebastian Cabot? Would you leave your children in his care; he looks more like Giles French, the Baby Crusher (with apologies to Monty Python). On second thought, maybe I would - Cissy, Buffy and Jodi were all pretty annoying and it's no wonder poor Uncle Bill hit the bottle as often as he did (and that damn Mrs Beasly - she was worthy of a Twilight Zone episode)

Mr. Haney - Traveling salesman/con artist who frequently plagued Oliver Douglas (Eddie Arnold) on Paul Hennings' surrealistic 1960's comedy Green Acres. Haney was played to perfection by former Western sidekick Pat Buttram.

Mr. Peepers - Jr. High School Science Teacher portrayed by Wally Cox in the 1950's comedy of the same name. Rumor has it that Mr. Peepers was fired after living up to his name and spying on the girl's field hockey team in their locker room.

Mr. C. - Fonzie's (Henry Winkler) preferred appellation for Howard Cunningham (Tom Bosley) on the 70's retro-comedy Happy Days (as in "Ayyyy Mr. C. let's go down to Arnold's and smoke some Mary Jane with Jenny Piccolo")

Mr. Met - Baseball-headed mascot of the New York Mets. Mets Fun Fact - their team colors of Blue and Orange are derived from the Brooklyn Dodgers (Blue) and the NY Giants (Orange), who both left New York for California in 1957.

Mr. Burns - immensely wealthy, avaricious and just plain mean owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant (and therefore Homer's boss) on The Simpsons. Mr. Burns Fun Fact 1: His voice, performed by Harry Shearer, is based on a combination of Lionel Barrymore and Ronald Reagan. Mr. Burns Fun Fact 2: His physical appearance is based on Fox founder Barry Diller.

Mr. Adam - title character in Pat Frank's 1946 novel about the last fertile man left alive on Earth following a nuclear power plant accident. Note to President Bush - that's pronounce "new-cle-ar".

Movie Misters

Mr. Blandings - title character portrayed by Cary Grant in the incredibly awesome 1948 comedy Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.

Mr. Brooks - serial killer played by Kevin Costner in the 2007 thriller of the same name. The best thing about the movie is what happens to the ever-annoying Dane Cook at the end (hope I didn't spoil the film for anyone)

Mr. Christian - Fletcher Christian was a real life Master's Mate under Captain Bligh on the Bounty (as in Mutiny on the Bounty) and has been portrayed by 5 different actors over the years including Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Marlon Brando and Mel Gibson. Back in the day, if you were doing a Charles Laughton impersonation, all you had to say was "Mister Christian!" and everyone knew who you were supposed to be (even if you weren't doing a particularly good Charles Laughton impersonation), in much the same way as "Judy, Judy, Judy" and "You dirty rat" became synonymous with Cary Grant and James Cagney, respectively.

Mr. Deeds -before it was a bad Adam Sandler comedy, it was a very good Gary Cooper comedy (as Mr. Deeds Goes to Town)

Mr. Mom - Michael Keaton coined a phrase for stay-at-home dads with the title of his 1983 comedy.

Mr. Roberts - WWII character portrayed by everyman hero Henry Fonda.

Mr. Show - Mid 90's HBO sketch comedy show starring Bob Odenkirk and David Cross (if you haven't seen or heard David Cross' stand-up comedy - for shame!

Mr. Smith -you know him - he went to Washington.

Mr. Tibbs (as in They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!) - Police Detective Virgil Tibbs as portrayed by Sidney Poitier in this 1970 sequel to In The Heat of the Night.

Music Misters

Mr. Big Stuff - "Who do you think you are?"

Mr. Bojangles -a music urban legend claims this song is about pioneering black tap dance artist Bill Bojangles Robinson. However, it's actually about a white homeless man who songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker met in a New Orleans jail cell in 1968.

Mr. Five By Five - both a song and a person. Jimmy Rushing was an blues and jazz singer, most notably with Count Basie's Orchestra. He was nicknamed Mr. Five by Five due to his build. In 1942 he was the subject of a popular swing song ("Mister Five by Five He's five feet tall and he's five feet wide He don't measure no more from head to toe Than he do from side to side"). It's a jumpy, fun little song. Don't believe me? Check out this version from Freddy Slack and his Orchestra featuring Ella Mae Morse on vocals (don't say I never gave you anything):

Mr. Roboto - hit song from Styx' 1983 concept album Kilroy Was Here. Domo Arigato.

Mr. Sandman - 1950's song so popular three different versions were recorded in 1954 and all three were in the top 20 on both the US and UK charts.

Mr. Tambourine Man - Forget Dylan, forget the Byrds, we all know who's version of this 1960's Pop-Folk classic is the best - that's right - Bill Shatner's! Don't believe me, check it out right here:

Mr. Tax Man - 1980 Reggae song from the Jamaican group Israel Vibration - no I've never heard of them before. To be honest, I was thinking of "Taxman" from the Beatles' Revolver album. Well anyway - there really is a song called Mr. Taxman.

Mr. Mistoffelees - both a character and song (Magical Mr. Mistoffelees) from Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's immensely popular musical Cats.

Comic Book Misters

Mr. A - Steve Ditko's Ayn Rand inspired hero. Everything you need to know about Objectivism can be found within the pages of this comic (believe me you really don't want to read Atlas Shrugged no matter how cool the cover is...)

Mr. E. - continuing alphabetically named heroes- we have this blind supernatural vigilante courtesy of DC Comics.

Mr. E - a different hero published by a different company (Timely Comics). With 26 letters to chose from, you'd think they could have been more original (actually this one preceded DC's by about 50 years but it's still a good joke).

Mr. Sinister - nemesis of Marvel's X-Men.

There you have it - if I've left any out this time, please feel free to berate me at your leisure.


  1. feel free to beat me up if you so wish, but you left out ( of the Music Misters ) the other MR. C. from the Shamen. " eezaregood! eezaregood! got any veras? "

    lovely jubbly.

  2. That was Joe's interpretation of the chorus of the Shamen's hit "Ebeneezer Goode". Ok I admit I looked it up.

  3. Much more thorough this time. Of course one could quibble that you have no right to refer to Green Acres as being "surreal" inasmuch as you are in fact becoming one of the main characters with your immense cadre of farm animals. I only wonder what the long suffering Mrs. C's name would be is she too were a Gabor sister ...

  4. Mr Potatohead, Mr Coffee, the characters from 'Resevoir Dogs' (Mr Pink, Mr Blue, Mr Brown, Mr Orange, Mr Blonde, Mr White), Mr Saturday Night...

  5. Damnation! How could I have forgotten Mr. Potato Head and Mr. Coffee - two pop culture icons! And I even thought of Mr. Potato Head when I was writing about Don Rickles. Now...are there any other's I've left out. I thought of a couple more Mr. Hand, Mr. Hanky, Mr. Wonderful. Mr. C (a different Mr. C than Joe Bloke's) I feel part 3 coming on...