Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sid Melton

This is, I believe, the fifth Golden Girls funeral I've acknowledged here. Two weeks ago, Sid Melton, né Sidney Meltzer, died of pneumonia at the age of 94. To be honest, I had no idea he was still alive. It hadn't occurred to me that despite playing Bea Arthur's father on Golden Girls, he was actually only a few years older than her—he played her long-dead father in flashbacks. I think my favorite Sid Melton moment on the show, though, was the one episode he was in when he wasn't playing Salvadore Petrillo, "What a Difference a Date Makes." Dorothy goes on a date to a totally inexplicable medieval restaurant, with a roving minstrel singing a slowed down "Gilligan's Island" theme and accompanying himself on a completely not-medieval guitar. Melton played the waiter, who introduces himself with the line, "Good evening, my lord. Good evening, my lady. My name is Don and I'll be your fool for the entire evening."

No, I didn't look that up; yes, I know lots of Golden Girls lines by heart.

Don offers the diners a choice of pheasant or wild boar, admitting that the pheasant is actually just chicken. They drink grog and diet grog while they wait for their pheasant, and as the conversation becomes more and more romantic, Don interrupts by shaking a jester's belled scepter between them and beginning a joke, "Two knights and a rabbi walk into a bar," which Dorothy interrupts by grabbing his scepter and hurling it away. That's all we see of Don the fool. Dorothy remains completely unfazed by the waiter who looks just like her dead father.

In my last Golden Girls obituary I asserted that Betty White was the only one left of the recurring cast of the show. That is truer now than it was then, with Estelle, Rue, Bea, Harold, Herb, and now Sid gone, though it actually isn't entirely accurate even now. We still have Debra Engle, Lynnie Green and, somewhat surprisingly, Bill Dana, who played Blanche's daughter Rebecca, young Dorothy, and Dorothy's grandfather/Uncle Angelo, respectively. I hope not to memorialize any of them any time soon.

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