Friday, April 24, 2009

He made it do what it did, baby…

If you’ve been keeping up with the comment sections, you’ve probably learned from faustina that my esteemed blogging colleague and very good friend Sam Johnson has shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of 42. (The details surrounding his demise are sketchy at best; his brother Anthony discovered Sam in his apartment today and the family will apparently have an obit up at The Savannah-Morning Snooze within the next day or so. I will look for it online and keep you posted.)

Sam and I first became acquainted when he stumbled onto my blog as a result of a search of Savannah-based blogs, and it didn’t take long for the two of us to discover that we had a good many things in common: old movies, classic TV, old-time radio, etc. (He also made me a charter member of the League of Savannah Bloggers…even though its membership resembled more of a platoon.) Sam was the type of guy that a friend of mine once described as “never met a stranger”—and as such, I made other friends through Sam that included Phil Schweier, Pandora Zowada and the irrepressible HouseT.

He had a tendency to look at things from a slightly askew angle—many of the subjects he wrote about included bizarre recipes involving bacon and vigorous defenses of his beloved hometown of Savannah. I freely admit that sometimes I would needle him about his unabashed love for the city oft-described as “the pretty lady with the dirty face” by posting dissenting comments…and he would come right back at me with the fury of a woman scorned. (I never knew for certain if he knew I was just winding him up…for the record, Sam, it was all in fun.)

Since starting Thrilling Days of Yesteryear back in November 2003, I’ve been afforded a marvelous opportunity to correspond with a number of truly good people…but it’s a rare occasion that allows me to meet many of my friends in the blogosphere face-to-face—chiefly because I don’t drive. I’ve been fortunate to have spent some time with Mr. Debonair himself—Elisson—which in a small way doesn’t really count because…well, he’s on a first name basis with everybody. Sam was the only other individual that I met and gret greeted—we broke bread together three years ago at the Ruby Tuesday’s in the Savannah Mall which I discussed in this particularly memorable post.

More often than not, Sam would usually drop in at my former place of employment (the fabulous LaQuinta Inn on Abercorn) to tumultuous applause not heard since Happy Days or Laverne & Shirley was on the air. If I was able to get away from my duties (honestly, some of the customers were convinced we were running some sort of a hotel or something) we’d have a bit of a chinwag; most of the time, however, our conversations would be conducted by phone or online (sort of a Jack Benny-Fred Allen feud between his and my blogs).

The last time I spoke with him was two weeks ago; he had called me up to see what was shaking and I told him that other than suffering from a mild case of writer’s block everything was peachy. We discussed at length the nature of public domain TV shows (as always, I told him Bob “Master of His [Public] Domain” Huggins was the go-to guy on that), his future plans (he had just thrown up his hands in disgust and quit his radio job because it was no longer fun for him)…and what I teased was his unhealthy obsession about writing about his ex-wife—even though she did reach into his chest cavity and remove his still-beating heart in front of him like in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). We also chatted about getting together at a future date to work on a dream project of his: an online database devoted to Saturday morning television (we just never could seem to get our schedules to mesh on this one).

To the individual who never failed to amuse me with stuff like Talk Like a Goth Girl Day, Sam-a-Palooza and the merits of Jerry Lewis’ film career—R.I.P., paisan. You have no idea how much I’ll miss you.

Update: Sam's obituary can be found online here, along with a guestbook for those who have something to say.

7 comments:

faustina said...

Very nicely done, sir. And now I shall take my 'xhausted self to bed and hope tomorrow is a better day. Sam would definitely approve! I am so gonna miss him...

Bob Wiley said...

Sam was a dear friend and as close to me as a brother and it's nice to hear that other people thought as highly of him as I and my family did. Thank you for being his friend and the wonderful words you wrote.

Jen said...

Sam was also a good friend of mine. We worked together in radio in Savannah, and he encouraged me in my blog writing. Someone linked this post to Facebook, and I followed it here. Thanks for your kind words about our friend Sam. Words failed me yesterday, but it's good to see they haven't failed others.

Bill Crider said...

Sad news, indeed, but a fine tribute.

Anonymous said...

SAM AND I WERE NOT NEARLY AS CLOSE AS BOB AND SAM, BUT I ALWAYS FELT LIKE HE WAS A BROTHER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER....I KNOW I WILL MISS HIM AS MUCH IF NOT MORE THAN MOST...I HOPE HE IS IN A BETTER PLACE....AND GETTING SOME LONG DESERVED REST....REST IN PEACE MY BROTHER!!!
BRAD TATOM

Brent McKee said...

I'm going to miss the big guy.

Elisson said...

I'm so sorry to hear of Sam's passing. I still remember the post you wrote when you met him for lunch all those years ago.

Savannah will be a little dimmer tonight...as will be the Bloggy-Sphere. Ave atque vale.