Television is called a “medium” because so little of it is rare or well done. Here’s Phil’s tribute to one who swam upstream.
All good things must come to an end, they say, and so it is that one of my comedic heroes, Tim Conway, passed away at age 85. You may remember him from the Carol Burnett show where he played iconic characters like Mr. Tudball, or an incompetent dentist, trying to pull his first tooth, who accidentally sticks himself with the needle and slowly freezes. Or from movies like “The Apple Dumpling Gang,” where he and Don Knotts took incompetence to a whole new level as would-be outlaws Theodore and Amos.
His perfect comedic timing stole scenes, left fans in stitches, and made it impossible for his co-stars to stay in character. He once told a story about Siamese elephants with their trunks joined together. He felt sorry for them. “When one sneezed the other’s eyes would get real big,” he said. This was completely new to his co-stars and they couldn’t keep it together.
Tim collected a Golden Globe and 6 Emmys, but far more impressive to me was this: His hilarity was suitable for the whole family.
He once said, “I don’t watch a lot of TV anymore…it isn’t the kind of thing you can feel comfortable watching with your kids.” Then he added with a grin, “I avoid all the language and nudity and violence and everything. I have enough of that at home.”
When pressed about it, he responded, “If I wouldn’t offend God, why would I want to offend an audience? Because in effect those people are being watched over by the same person.”
Tim Conway was tiny growing up. He said, “When you’re small, you’re either funny, or you get beat up a lot. I can identify.” In high school, he was carried off the field after getting hit hard in the back. He was put in a neck brace, but years later began to experience back spasms. A doctor told him these spasms “were a residual effect of a broken vertebrae…you came very, very close to being permanently disabled.”
Tim wrote, “Ever since that incident, Jesus and I have stayed in constant touch. I never stop saying thank you.” He adds, “I spend a lot of time thinking of the Hereafter; Each time I enter a room I wonder what I’m here after.”
Tim once said, “I enjoy life because I enjoy making other people enjoy it.” I like that. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.” So let’s follow Tim’s example today. Let’s use the gifts we have been given to bring joy to others. And never stop saying, “Thank you.”
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