Goodbye to Pike, in the Furniture Van; Jonathan Winters dies at 87

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Comedic genius and Marine Veteran Jonathan Winters has passed away at 87.  Steve Martin called him one of the “great greats”, and so he was.   A master of improv, and THE master of innuendo, Winters’ physical and intellectual comedy never failed to bring laughter.

Winters served in the Marine Corps during World War II, and was a regular on the Tonight Show, with Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, Dean Martin, and a host of others.  He was in a million things, but my favorite of all time was as Pike, the driver of the furniture van, in Stanley Kramer’s 1963 comedy epic It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  “D’ya know how many loads of furniture I’d have to take from Modesto to Yuma to earn that kind of money?”   I’ve seen the movie close to forty times, and he makes me laugh, still, even when I know the lines are coming.   To this day, when I have been trying to figure something out and it finally comes to me, I will say “That’s it!  Sure!  The Big W!!!”

Semper Fidelis, Marine.   And thanks for the laughs.

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5 thoughts on “Goodbye to Pike, in the Furniture Van; Jonathan Winters dies at 87”

  1. Winters only really failed once, when he did a voice in the appaling cartoon Frosty Returns. Other than that, he was one of the funniest men of the 20th Century. Robin Williams is often compared to him, but Winters was funny, Williams is just manic. Farewell, Mr. Winters, you will be missed!

  2. I agree with you Scott. I’ve missed JW for a long time. I watched his send up of Ronnie Raygun, when he played Reagan’s 1st grade Teacher in a Dean Martin Roast and it was hilarious.

    An era is passing and teh future for teh US is not bright as all we are getting these days are profane little people who are anything but funny. I unplugged the TV antenna as it just wasn’t worth letting that swill into my home anymore.

  3. As a youngster I laughed until I cried at Jonathan Winters. The USS BonHomme Richard had one fine Marine aboard.

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