I was reminded of 1998 last week, by the anniversary of Frank Sinatra's passing. At the age of 83 years old, the Chairman had finally retired from the boardroom. I was also reminded of this particularly tragic year, because we had also lost Phil Hartman. While both passings were somber and equally saddening, the loss of Phil Hartman was one that was all the more devistating. I remember being at my best friend's house, hanging out, and a news bulletin of some sort had come on: Channel 2 news announced that Phil Hartman had died. I didn't hear the cause, I didn't hear who or what did it, I just knew it was sad. I had a vague recollection of his name, but did not remember him at first. I later realized, he was my favorite character on NewsRadio, as well as Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz on the Simpsons. I still remember first seeing the SNL "Best Of" show they put together in his honor, and laughing at all of the bits I'd never seen, but enjoyed nonetheless. At that period in my life, I was also a big pack rat. Newspaper clippings, TV Guides with special covers, stuff that would probably not increase in value anytime soon but that I had an interest in. To this day, I still have all of the articles and tributes to Phil Hartman I had saved from around that time.
Thinking back, on the tenth anniversary of both passings, I realize that the world could have used them now more than ever. Whether a really good laugh from the bottom of your chest, or moment of sheer entertaining prowess, Frank and Phil both pulled through in aces. This must read like a huge rambling, but my intent was to honor two of my boyhood idols. Both are men who's careers I look up to, and would love to in some ways emulate. Both are men who have had hugely successful mass appeal, and both should never be forgotten as the great entertainers they are. May history remember them only in the fondest of manners.