901. When I'd heard that Merv Griffin had gone back into the hospital to get more treatment for prostate cancer, I ought to have known it was one of those cases of the media gilding the lily. As it turned out, he was on death's door.
Time was, reportage laid a very soft hand upon celebrities like this. I mourn for those days (except in the cases of Britney S. and Lindsay L., who, IMHO, deserve all the embarrassment they can handle. But I, as usual, digress).
With respect to Merv I must say I'm torn. I found his daytime talk show, that ran through the the middle-late 80's to be a crashing bore; I always though I was watching a downmarket version of The Mike Douglas Show, which being able to make such a comparison probably reveals a whole lot more about my youthful viewing habits than I probably ought, but there you go. I also wish he hadn't come up with Wheel of Fortune, the most singularly annoying game show this side of You're In the Picture (look it up on Wikipedia, I'm taking too many side roads here. Amazing how I can make a memorial to somebody else all about me, neh?); if not for Merv, Pat Sajak would still be where he belonged; doing weather in some mid-sized market's 5 pm report somewhere in the flyover zone.
He did make up for all that with two things for me mainly; the revival of Jeopardy!, which makes it possible for people to watch TV that's not PBS and be smug about it, and the part he played in the Steve Marting comedy The Man With Two Brains, in which he poked savage fun at his own "Wooooh!" persona, which was nothing short of cosmically inspried. I'm not giving that one away–go get it and view it yourself, or if you don't care for Steve Martin (you cretin) look that up on Wikipedia, they probably have a spoiler therein.
All this is a way of saying that I thought some of what Merv came up with was kinda crap, some of it was brilliant, but I always did like the man. You couldn't not like someone who always came off so happy and friendly.
He also had a love-er-ly bunch of coconuts, for what that's worth.