RIFFS 2006
Published February 6, 2006
Into the Mystic, Cohiba Style
Al Lewis 1910 - 2006

By Roger Marquis D'Mexico

Another Lord Buckley confidant rises up through the scented blue smoke of a fine Cohiba into the mystic. Al Lewis, actor, restaurateur, political activist and basketball scout, swooped this earthly sphere February 3rd at a glorious 95 years of age.

Lewis played Grandpa on the hit television show The Munsters, tuxedoed, fanged, lascivious and downright fun. He lived the life of a renaissance cat and grooved through the entire glorious spectrum from circus and burlesque to running on the Green Party ticket for Governor of New York. He lost to Governor Pataki, but managed to garner 52,000 votes. He acted in a number of films including "They Shoot Horses Don't They" and "Married To The Mob". Al did it all. He even earned a Ph.D in child psychology from Columbia.I fondly remember running into him at the Hotel Nacional in
Cuba during the Havana Film Festival several years ago. He had a freshly lit Cohiba that seemed about a foot long stuck in his mouth and was festooned with colorful political buttons and pins. The glint in his eye revealed a man fully engaged with an authentic life where politics and art fuse into the Sacred Fool.

He affectionately remembers Lord Buckley in Oliver Trager's definitive biography, Dig Infinity. "He was very inventive, creative, free-form. He came out of the stream-of-consciousness tradition." In Oliver's book he also fondly remembers His Lordship as "...the off-the-wall tilting-at-windmills Lord Buckley." Grandpa Lewis for President!

Editors Note: There is a gentle controversy concerning Al Lewis' actual age. Some sources site 1923 and while others, including our intrepid reporter, say April 30, 1910. LBC sides with it's reporter if for no other reason than it gives sweet Al Lewis another 13 years on the sphere.