Friday, February 28, 2020

Time Runner


Actress Rae Dawn Chong (above, right) and I were both born in 1961, though her birth was toward the beginning of that year (on this date in fact) and mine took place toward the end. Nevertheless, we were the same age just yesterday, and will be the same age again before the year is out. Unlike other celebrity birthdays, this one doesn't necessarily make me feel older. It normally should make me feel older, since I've seen her in plenty of 1980s movies, as well as a Mick Jagger video, when she was in her 20s, and I was in mine. But I instead feel younger. "Why?" you ask. Look who's on the left side of that picture. Recognize him? Even if you don't, but were around in the 1970s and '80s, you will recall there was another celebrity with the last name Chong. That's right, it's Tommy Chong, of "Cheech and Chong" fame, and Rae Dawn's father. It also means that Chong is old enough to be my father! What so remarkable about that? Well, like a lot of hippies, or people pretending to be hippies, or people who just looked like hippies, I imagined him as not someone old enough to be my father, but kind of my generation, maybe an older brother. That's how I thought of rock stars in general, and though Cheech and Chong were comedians and not rock stars, they had kind of a rock star aura about them, especially given that so many of their comedy routines were about taking drugs. Now that's not something I did all that much of in high school, but at least I could smell the aroma of weed when I walked into the guy's john, after which I had the urge to head into the cafeteria, where the normally unappetizing food served there had suddenly become exactly the opposite.  But getting back to age, when I was in my teens (and Rae Dawn was in hers) I would have assumed Tommy Chong to be in his 20s (in fact he was in his 30s), which means I right now would be in my 40s! See what I mean about feeling younger? As for my own father, he was in fact born four years before Tommy Chong, and for most of his adult life (he died in 1979) wore his hair in a Fonzie-like ducktail, whereas the stoner-comedian wore his hair (and still wears his hair) past his ears. See what a difference being born in 1934 rather than 1938 makes? But that's neither here nor there. I'm still young enough to be Tommy Chong's son, whether I am or not, and you can't take that away from me!

Only the mirror can.









12 comments:

  1. I remember the tv show a little. Even at a young and desperate age, I really couldn't find either of them attractive. I remember a great sketch? about a motorist who had lost a car wheel hubcap, and they swapped a hubcap from one side of the car to the other and the driver wasn't aware and was happy and paid.

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    1. Andrew, when you say "attractive", do you mean in the physical sense, or you just didn't find their characters likable? As for switching the hubcap, those two excelled at playing comic lowlifes.

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  2. Hi, Kirk!

    Happy 59th birthday to Rae Dawn. As Mick's lover in the music video for "Just Another Night" she is radiant. I might add that she seems to like it on the rough side. I never fully embraced the comedic style of Cheech and Chong because I don't appreciate drug related humor. However I remember watching Up In Smoke at a drive-in theater. I also bought their singles "Basketball Jones featuring Tyrone Shoelaces," "Earache My Eye" and "Black Lassie."

    Have a super Friday, a groovy leap year Saturday and a safe and happy weekend, good buddy Kirk!

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    1. I'm glad you mentioned their records, Shady. I chose a film clip because by this point that may be what they're better known for, but their original claim to fame was their comedy records. I've always thought they were slightly funnier listening to than watching. Whatever you think of their subject matter (I personally see their humor as more low-rent than drug-related), you have to be quite talented to create a whole world through vocal characterizations, as those two did.

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  3. And all I took from this was: I had no idea Tommy Chong was Rae Dawn’s father!

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    1. Mitchell, there's not much of a resemblance, is there?

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  4. I thought Rae Dawn Chong was great in "Quest for Fire." It's still a favourite movie of mine. And Tommy Chong is like an elder statesman in the cannabis world now, isn't he.

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    1. Debra, I was thinking of showing a clip from a "Quest for Fire" but was afraid that if someone wasn't familiar with the film, they might think it was a National Geographic special. I actually couldn't any real good clips with her, so opted for the Mick Jagger video.

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  5. I don't really have knowledge of her but her dad yes! I only know her from her....um recent story regarding Mick Jagger. Hit our news a few weeks ago.

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    1. Ananka, when I was prepared this post, I was unaware that she claimed to have sex with Jagger when she was 15 (as much as I cover celebrities on this blog, I'm sometimes fall behind on the news.) By today's reckoning, Mick Jagger might be considered a child molester but back in 1977 it would have merely been statutory rape. OK, that's not much of a mitigating factor, is it? Reading up on this, um, controversy, I see Chong says Jagger didn't know her age, that it was consensual (statutory rape here in the USA if in fact he DID know her age), she wasn't traumatized, and it wasn't a #MeToo moment. Honestly, if I had known she made this claim about Jagger, I would NOT have used this video. But I'm going to keep it up. After all, it's from 1985, by which time Chong was 23 and Jagger was 42, clearly legal.

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  6. It is weird when people you don't normally think of together have such a close relationship. It's like when you visit two seemingly different parts of town and then realize that that are actually quite close to each other.

    I suppose that I am lucky that I often like older stars--they are long-gone and so provide no such difficult reflections. Although did you hear that a few days ago Baby Peggy, the last of the Silent-ear stars, died at 101? And it seems like so few of the 1960's actors are left!
    --Jim

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  7. Jim, I've heard the name (unless I have her confused with some other "Baby", as there's been several) but don't think I've ever seen a Baby Peggy movie. Since the beginning of the 1920s is now, amazingly, a 100 years ago, there can't be any adult stars from that era alive, and the child stars would be in their 90s. Remember the Little Rascals? Originally called Our Gang, there's something like ten years worth of silent films that never made it to TV. Some of those actors may still be alive.

    As for 1960s actors, well, remember, that if one happened to be in their 30s then, such as John Astin of Addams Family fame, that person would be in their 90s (he's still with us.) A child star from the 1960s, like, say, Billy Mumy of Lost in Space, might be halfway through their 60s by now. Unless you go to the very end of the 1960s. I'm happy to report that Brandon Cruz, who played Eddie in the Courtship of Eddie's Father, is not even 60 yet.

    Remember, too, that "older stars" is kind of a relative term. To a teenager today, Cheech and Chong are roughly where Laurel and Hardy were when I was in my teens, and they were both dead by then!

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