I know this is a couple of months late, but better late than never.
I watched a lot of TV as a kid and, depending on where that TV was located, I would be stuck watching movies instead of the cartoons I was always looking for. One afternoon at my grandmother’s, I found this movie playing where a guy was trying to eat a bunch of eggs. I didn’t know who Paul Newman was at that time, but I recognized George Kennedy from an appearance on The Love Boat, so I kept watching. While I was too young to understand the entire movie, I could tell that I had watched a good one. I ended up catching Cool Hand Luke in its entirety on a different visit to my grandmother’s house.
On a Christmas visit to my grandmother’s house, we all decided to go to the movies one night. Paul Newman had a new movie out, Absence of Malice. Being only 11, I did not enjoy the movie as much as the “adults” did, but some scenes that I have seen since may have me revisit it at some point.
Then my parents started doing the VCR thing in the mid-80s. One of the first movies they rented was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Again, I found another movie that was entertaining on different levels. it also removed the “bad” taste in my mouth from Absence of Malice.
Over the years I had opportunities to see other Newman movies. He was a great villain in The Hudsucker Proxy. One night, after a group of us had gone to the Orlando Solar Bears game, we watched Slap Shot and I was introduced to the Hansen Brothers.
While the man was great on-screen, it is his efforts off-screen that truly define his greatness. His work with kids and the amounts of money he raised for various charities changed the lives of many. One of the local radio hosts discussed a charity event that was saved at the last minute by Newman.
The next time you have a drink, raise one up for a man who made his mark on several generations…