In countless conversations with Big Daddy Graham, there has never been a single moment that was not lively and enjoyable. And the moments were many.
Sharing a gift of chatter, one subject would bend to another, step back to bring up a missed point, then move on. As with everything Big Daddy, they were punctuated with a lot of laughs and a lot of heart.
Oddly enough, these interviews were only occasionally accidental, the difference being when I ran into Big Daddy in the theater. Most often they were organized as interviews or because Big Daddy had something he wanted to tell me. That’s why the length of our calls and the spiraling nature of the conversation have always been a pleasant surprise. Wed manages to talk about something specific and goes on to discuss everything from sports and politics to cabbages and kings.
I don’t think my experience with Big Daddy was much different from that of others. You can’t spend more than 20 years spending the night in a radio station without having something to say, and Big Daddy had a lot of it.
He also knew how to engage with a wide variety of callers, some regular WIP fans who wanted to comment on local sports teams, some people who just wanted to hang out in the middle of the night talking to someone. Big Daddy was great and generous with each of them.
His career as a broadcaster followed a parallel and continuing career as a stand-up comedian. Big Daddy’s reputation and accumulated fan base led him to be booked as a guest on local shows and land a spot on a morning radio show.
Mornings shouldn’t be her counter, unless you think of midnight to 5 a.m. like morning.
For 20 years, Big Daddy Graham chaired a unique program on Philadelphia Radio. It was on WIP (94.1 FM), so sport was the basis of a lot of discussion. Like Big Daddy on the phone or in the lobby of a theater, a simple hello can go anywhere.
There was the gift from the sympathetic and beloved artist who died of heart failure on Wednesday at his home in Mullica Hills, NJ. He was 68. Big Daddy Graham, born Edward Gudonis, could talk about anything and do it in an engaging way for as long as a topic lasted.
Big Daddy kept on top of a lot. Of course, he followed sports, but his interests went beyond that. After many years of talking to Big Daddy, I can’t think of many things that he didn’t know a thing about.
This makes him a natural for the radio.
It also made him the popular comedian who has performed at most clubs in the Philadelphia area and has carried his number to Atlantic City and elsewhere.
Graham’s comedy was observational. He enjoyed daily commentary and often wrote songs about everyday situations. One of them, Lets Call in Sick, was broadcast on hundreds of radio stations across the United States. His recording has been bought by tens and thousands. On WIP, it was a Monday morning staple.
Like most comics, Big Daddy could get serious or mix his humor with the real. He published a book, Last Call, about his relationship with his father. He also appeared in a play version that premiered at the Delaware Countys Media Theater.
Entertainment was his life, and he worked hard at it until he was paralyzed after rupturing a blood vessel in 2019. His fatal heart failure is linked to this event.
In recent years, Big Daddy has appeared on Bills with another successful local comedian on radio, Joe Conklin.
In most of the years I’ve written on entertainment, and over 50, 38 of which in this journal, Big Daddy Graham has been seen, heard and discussed on a regular basis.
He will be missed not only for his talent and ability to support a varied program for years to come, but also for his company.
raham is survived by his wife, Deborah Garvey, and his two daughters, Keely and Ava, the latter whom I met after a theatrical event. Ava worked with her father on his WIP show.
Michael K. Williams was a talent we will miss
Any viewer of The Wire, one of the first shows that established cable as a rival to traditional network television, knows why the characters gathered on a street corner in Baltimore became tense and scattered as quickly as they did. could when someone mumbled the words, Omars coming.
Omar was a ruthless drug dealer played with incredible intensity by Michael K. Williams.
Williams, who earlier in his career was known as Michael Kenneth Williams, died last Monday at the age of 54, was a remarkably talented actor. He has several memorable performances to his credit, but his portrayal of Omar earned him his first attention and cemented the style that made him an actor who captured your full attention every time he appeared on the show. screen.
Few actors can demonstrate his ability to appear totally natural in the situations his characters have found themselves in while still managing to be so real and complete, he has dominated the screen with every scene, every nuance.
There was a reason fear struck the hearts of seasoned criminals when Omars’ approach was noticed. Williams made him the toughest, deadliest character in the neighborhood while keeping him the most interesting.
Omar was one of the many characters Williams would bring to life with his individual brand of dramatic honesty and sincerity. In addition to The Wire, he will be recognized for his work as Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire and his appearance in several prime-time series. that he is currently fighting is to play Omar or Chalky.
Until this year, with the nomination to play Montrose Freeman, a complex character whose past and vivid dreams about them affect his unrecognized relationship with his son, on HBOs Lovecraft Country, he received nominations for unique roles in movies or limited series, including for Netflixs When They See Us and HBOs The Night of
Fielding this year’s Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series is tough, but a posthumous victory isn’t impossible. The 2021 Emmys will be presented on September 19. The ceremony begins at 8 p.m. on CBS (Channel 3).
Get started with quizzes and talents
Quizzes and talent contests are the guilty pleasure of my TV viewing schedule.
I’m looking forward to the first few weeks of The Voice, Dancing with the Stars and Survivor, which have a problem with slots as I want to watch them all while they’re airing and will have to pick just one. (Anyone who knows me knows The Voice will win and I will watch others on demand. Ariana Grande’s arrival as a judge has nothing to do with this decision.)
While we wait for the next round of competitions to start, I’ll be watching this week’s finals for Americas Got Talent. Several promising acts were eliminated last week. One judge, Simon Cowell, was so baffled by the performers’ vote, that he said the show should consider a generic location to save an act.
Sixteen acts will compete for a million dollar prize and a contract for an engagement in Las Vegas. I support singer Brooke Simpson, but I think the biggest honor will go to Aerial Aidan Bryant. I wouldn’t complain if comedian Gina Brillon, magician Dustin Tavella or the Northwell Health Nurse Choir, made up of 18 nurses who were on the front lines of COVID treatment, is named the big winner.
In a competition that just ended, a team from Columbia University triumphed over a well-matched group from the University of Southern California to win the first prize of $ 125,000 in the Capital One College Bowl.
The entire College Bowl season has been an exciting one, but this last game, with participants the public got to know after seeing them three times before, was particularly exhilarating. Additionally, Peyton Manning and his brother, Cooper Manning, prove to be entertaining hosts for the show. A surprise during a visual question was that no one at USC recognized a photo of Clayton Moore from The Lone Ranger. I guess some icons don’t last through the generations as I expected. Both teams avoided a Shakespeare category.
Dance with the stars announced its competitors. I don’t know how starred they are. Many of them are from reality TV. Maybe I’m wrong or I’m snobbish, but they don’t turn me on.
Amanda Kloots of The Talk is an outstanding Broadway artist. (By a strange bearing, I sat next to her parents on a show she was doing and knew her late husband, Nick Cordero, to whom Amanda dedicates her time in dancing.)
Others that I consider stars of sorts are Brian Austin Green, Martin Kove from Cobra Kai and Melanie C. (full name Melanie Chisolm), Sporty Spice from The Spice Girls. Matt James, Mike Mizanin, Jimmie Allen, Cody Rigsby, Iman Shumpert (athletes tend to do well), JoJo Siwa, who will be paired with a woman, Suni Lee, Kenya Moore, Olivia Jade, Melora Hardin and Christine Chiu.
Of course, my favorite game of all TV quizzes is Jeopardy! Tonight marks the only appearance for now-fired producer Mike Richards as host. Tomorrow, Mayim Bialik begins her stint as Jeopardy host!
Wheel of Fortune is also starting a new season that features some changes. One is the Final Spin, usually performed by host Pat Sajak when the bell rings to announce that time is running out. From this evening, the competitor whose turn it is will take the place of Sajak.
Neal Zoren’s television column appears every Monday.
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