Friday, March 23, 2007

Larry "Bud" Melman, we hardly knew ye

I got the sad news yesterday that my old pal Larry "Bud" Melman has passed into the ether at the age of 85.

If you've never heard of him, Larry--real name Calvert DeForest--was a regular on David Letterman's old NBC show, back when it was funny. I had my own strange tie to this odd, lumpy everyman, which you can see in the photo within a photo above.

In 1986, my pal Murray called and told me Melman was about to sign autographs at Steve's Ice Cream, a long forgotten place on the Drag near the University of Texas. When we got there, the place was mobbed. Larry was set up at the back of the room, while I leaned about the front counter. At the last minute, they decided to move him to right where I stood. I saw Mike Whiteley in the crowd (you know him as the announcer on Rollergirls) and handed him my camera. Click. That moment appeared on the television news that night and the next day my photo with him was in The Daily Texan.

Flash forward to 1994. I heard on the radio that Larry would be at the Waterloo Brewing Co. (also long gone) at noon. I was there. But no one else was but a television reporter. Larry's 15 minutes of fame was over. He signed my photo from that previous encounter, and the TV guy asked me to stick around to be interviewed for the local newscast, again.

Both photos served as my Christmas cards.

I'd hoped for a a new photo for a new decade and tried to track down Larry a few months ago. I left a message at his agent's office, but it wasn't returned. I guess the last photo will have to be of me at Larry's graveside.


DMO said...

Been snowed under with projects here in SA, so hadn't heard the news about Larry "Bud" Melman. I'm sorry to see him pass. And you're so right, back then David was funny. And remember the man under the stairs? Chris Elliot, I believe. Those were the days. I was flipping burgers across the street from Steves at GM Steakhouse back then....

And an early congrats on becoming a dad -- If you have a girl - let's talk. A boy, and, well, you're on your own!

Joe M. O'Connell said...

Thanks, Drew!

It's a boy: Nick Drake O'Connell! He's due April 4 so we're down to the last days...