Saturday, January 31, 2009

Say "Uncle"

Avuncular Adventures in Pop Culture...

Uncle Albert - Paul McCartney's Uncle (yes he was a real person) and one of the two titles character's in Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, McCartney's #1 1971 hit. We're so sorry...

Uncle Ben - Elderly, African-American who's been the "face" of Uncle Ben Rice for over 60 years. Originally portrayed as a servant, in 2007 the Mars Company announced that Ben was Chairman of the Board (he got a promotion but he's still wearing that little bow tie). There is no proof to the rumors that he is the father of Aunt Jemima's love child.

Uncle Ben Parker - Peter Parker's uncle and adoptive father. His murder at the hands of the burglar who Peter had earlier let escape, convinces Peter to adopt the identify of Spider-Man. "With great power comes great responsibility".

Uncle Bill - Well-to-do bachelor (played by Brian Keith) who suddenly finds himself guardian to three children in the 1960's TV sitcom Family Affair. "French, get me another martini and tell Sissy to wear the pink baby doll tonight." "Yes, Mr. Davis". (I know I'm a seriously disturbed individual...what's your point?)

Uncle Buck - Title Character of the 1989 John Hughes film played by the late, great John Candy. Buck made the transition to television in 1990 in a short-lived series starring Kevin Meaney.

Uncle Charlie - Apron-wearing housekeeper/uncle (played by veteran character actor William Demarest) on My Three Sons. To his dying day, Charlie denied the rumours that he was little more than Fred MacMurray's bitch.

Uncle Fester - Bald-headed, fur coat-wearing member of the Addams Family. Depending on the source, he's either Morticia's uncle or Gomez' brother. Either way he's just your typical, fun loving homicidal maniac, and we love him.

Uncle Floyd - New Jersey based children's television show host. With the help of his sidekick, a puppet named Oogie, and real-life cast members "Looney" Skip Rooney, Netto, Mugsy and Scott Gordon, Floyd Vivino has plied his unique brand of lunacy to kids and adults since 1974.

Uncle Henry - Kansas farmer and uncle to orphaned Dorothy Gale of Wizard of Oz fame. Michael Fun Fact - one of my first theatrical roles was as Uncle Henry in Hampton Street Elementary School's sixth grade production of The Wizard of Oz. I had four lines "Howdy Miss Gulch" "You mean she bit you?" "Oh, She bit her dog, eh?" and "Of course we believe you Dorothy". Needless to say, I stole the show...

Uncle Kracker - stage name of American rock, rap and country musician Matthew Shafer.

Uncle Martin - stranded Martian (potrayed by Ray Walston) in the 1960's sit-com My Favorite Martian. He wasn't really Bill Bixby's uncle, but the times weren't as progressive as they are now and the world looked askance at a young man sharing an apartment with another man 20 years his senior. "Are those antenae, or are you just happy to see me Uncle Martin?"

Uncle Rastus - Better known as "the Cream of Wheat Chef ". His image is based on a photograph of Frank L. White, an immigrant from Barbados who was working as a master chef in Chicago when he was paid $5.oo to pose in a chef's hat and jacket. His face has been featured on the box for over 100 years.

Uncle Remus - Beloved, elderly, African-American storyteller and fictional narrator of a collection of African-American folk tales compiled by Joel Chandler Harris in the late 19th Century. Disney's version, the legendary Song of the South, is a combination of live-action and animation. The Walt Disney Company has long surpressed the film here in the United States for fear that it is racially insensitive. James Baskett, the actor who portrayed Uncle Remus in the film received a special Acadamy Award or his performance in 1948. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah!

Uncle Sam - he wants you.

Uncle Scrooge - Donald Duck's wealthy, miserly, Scottish uncle and so-called "Richest Duck in the World". Unfortunately, Scrooge invested heavily in mortgage-backed securities and is now the "Second Richest Duck in the World" behind that annoying little fucker from Aflac.

Uncle Tom - title character of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential anti-slavery novel credited with fueling abolitionist fervor in the 1850's. Uncle Tom is also a perjoritive term used to describe a subserviant African-American. In the original novel, Tom is definitely no Uncle Tom; however, later stage versions altered the character's strong personality giving rise to the term.

U.N.C.L.E. - acronym for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, the international intelligence agency featured in the 1960's TV spy shows, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.

Uncle Vanya - title character of Chekhov's tragicomedy. This was one of Captain Kirk's favorite plays. Mr. Spock preferred The Seagull.

Uncle Walt - nickname for Walt Disney. Don't believe the rumours that his body was frozen after death (however, baseball legend Ted Williams is in some sort of cryogenic freeze - at least his head is; I'm not sure what they did with the rest of him).

Uncle Wiggly - Elderly rabbit featured in a series of children's books by American author Howard Roger Garis.


  1. Uncle Bic approves although you got one part hugely and immensely wrong. Sebastian Cabot was in fact " Uncle Beel " and not " Bill " as you erroneously refer to him. Listen to the adorable Buffy and Jody and you will hear this. Uncle Rastus ? How do you know this crap ?

    My older brother went to Rutgers and thus was always a big fan of Uncle Floyd though I haven't seen him in years

  2. I have to admit that I stumbled upon Uncle Rastas (not literally) by accident while doing research for this blog.

    As for Uncle Floyd - I have fond memories of him, but that might be because I haven't actually seen him in decades. I'm not sure if I'd feel the same all these years later. I actually have an Uncle Floyd post that I've been working on for a while - I haven't been able to make it click yet.