Jonathan Winters Remembered: 1925 – 2013

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There’s and old wives tale, (I think it’s attributed to a bunch of old wives) that when someone dies, it comes in threes. Seems that way doesn’t it, with the passing of Margaret Thatcher, then Annette Funicello, and now Jonathan Winters all in a weeks time.

OK God….knock it off for cripes sake!!!

For the record, this explanation, I think, from the “Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs:”

“Bad things may be specified as accidents, deaths, or  other mishaps; cf. misfortunes never come singly. This  is a well-attested folk superstition on both sides of the Atlantic:  [1891 Notes & Queries 7th Ser. XII. 489] One of my servants having  accidentally broken a glass shade, asked for two other articles of little value, a wine  bottle and jam crock, that she might break them, and so prevent the two other  accidents. ‥which would otherwise follow. Cf. third time lucky.”

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Hope that explained it for ya. I’m still going with the old wives theory.

My memories of Jonathan go back to the Jack Paar television show in the 1950’s. (now known as the “Tonight Show”) Yes, we DID actually have television back in the 50’s. I know it’s hard to fathom, but true. However, no color TV. Just black and white because networks hadn’t discovered how to put an entire box of Crayola Crayons into their cameras to make pictures in color. My theory anyhow.

First, and I really hate to admit this, one of the actual shows I watched. (sigh) Here’s Jonathan on the Tonight Show with Jack Paar doing one of his routines:

Jonathan was the inspiration for many up and coming comedians, most notably Robin Williams, who, as you already know is certifiably nuts, as was Jonathan. A requisite for being a successful comedian. I’m sure you can tell from that first video where Robin Williams got some of his ideas from. Either that, or Robin is Jonathan’s son from a secret marriage. How else can ya explain the similarities.

Here’s one of Jonathan’s best routines. His most famous character, Maude Frickert:

Jonathan could not stay himself when people interviewed him. Give him an open line and it was all down hill for the television host after that. Anything could set him off into an ad lib routine. Here’s Jonathan with a very young-looking David Letterman, and an example of his improv stuff. Watch his ad lib with the chair when he first comes in: 3

You’ll notice that Jonathan was very good at emphasizing his routines with his own sound effects. It added to the humor. However, he was just as funny even without using those sound effects. In this next video, he appears as Elwood Suggens at a Dean Martin celebrity roast with the roastee, so to speak, Frank Sinatra. It’s hard not to tear up with laughter watching him go on and on with things that just pop into his mind:

In 1981, Jonathan, never missing a beat, appeared as Mearth on the TV series “Mork & Mindy” as Mork’s middle-aged infant offspring after being hatched out of a giant egg. It was a brilliant match-up considering Robin Williams played Mork and a lot of Robin’s antics can be attributed to associating with Winters.

Here’s a scene from Mork & Mindy (Winters appears 8 minutes into the video)

One last short video with yet another Dean Martin roast where Jonathan sticks it to Johnny Carson.

Jonathan………….you will be missed. Thanks for all those moments you kept us laughing.

Ok God… you have to deal with Maude Fricket, Chester Honeybugger, Elwood P. Suggens and, if at all possible, which I seriously doubt, Jonathan Winters as himself.winters2

Just sayin.’

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About misfit120

Former disc jockey, (Dick Jones) 30 years, and author of, "I Could Have Been Famous But Sex, Love & Life Got In The Way" available at books, & Kindle, "The Covert Chamber" a mystery novel available at and Barnes & Noble, and "Forgotten" the story of two WWI pilots who were forgotten for over 70 years available on and Kindle
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2 Responses to Jonathan Winters Remembered: 1925 – 2013

  1. Dara says:

    Very nicely done. Always loved the man. Met him once years ago. Thanks for the videos, he was so special!

  2. santostom says:

    Great tribute to a man who kept us laughing for years. Thanks. Johnathon could develop a story about anything, all you had to do was say a word, and he would start in. Tremendous man. He has been missed for a long time.

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