Gallagher went to the Big Casino in the Sky this week. That’s Leo Gallagher, originator of the watermelon-smashing schtick, not his brother Ron, who sometimes peddled a version thereof.
I had always thought that the multiple Gallaghers were something the two brothers cooked up together, so Gallagher could be two places, earning two appearance fees, at the same time. (Technically you could call either one “Gallagher” and be telling the truth.) But the NYT says otherwise:
In the early 1990s, when his younger brother Ron lost his job as a bulldozer salesman, Mr. Gallagher helped him out by allowing Ron, who bore some resemblance to him, to perform a facsimile of his act. Ron Gallagher added touches like smashing a lobster with a hammer and was soon performing in small venues.
After a few years, Ron Gallagher began billing himself as Gallagher II (sometimes Gallagher Too or Gallagher Two). Leo Gallagher had not agreed to this billing and was concerned that it was misleading, so in 1999 he sued to stop his brother from performing under that name. The suit, filed in federal court in Michigan, claimed that Ron had “violated Gallagher’s right of publicity and trademark rights.”
An injunction was granted prohibiting Ron Gallagher from performing any act that impersonated his brother. The judge ordered him not to perform with “a sledgehammer or other similar device to pulverize watermelons, fruits, food or other items of any kind.”
I don’t know why this kind of showbiz minutiae fascinates me so much, but it does. As does this further detail from the obit:
In 1987, United Press International reported that researchers at Loma Linda University in Southern California studying laughter took blood samples from 10 medical students while they watched Mr. Gallagher in action. Not only did they laugh uproariously; their white blood cells increased. The comedian, the scientists said, appeared to have boosted the subjects’ immune systems.
One is probably wise to be skeptical about the scientific rigor of that, but sure, who wouldn’t like to believe that laughter really is the best medicine? I’d also like to believe this article I just read about a guy whose paralysis was cured by magic mushrooms. In a universe this size, many things are possible.
Anyway, also departing Earth this week was Aaron Carter, about whom I know little and TBH care even less. His obit reads like a plotline from Bojack Horseman:
Aaron Carter, who released his first album at age 9 and the popular album “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” at age 12, became a fixture of teenage programming and magazines and made appearances on shows like “Lizzie McGuire.”
“Aaron’s Party” peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling some three million copies. It included his cover of the song “I Want Candy” by the Strangeloves. He released five studio albums and was a contestant on the show “Dancing With the Stars.”
His career later stalled, and in recent years he has been embroiled in legal trouble and has shared his struggles with addiction. In 2018, he released his first album in some 15 years, “Love,” to lukewarm reviews.
Sad, of course. But so it goes. Parents, don’t let your 9-year-olds get famous; it’s bad for a person.
Finally, because I like to do these things in threes, I looked up Lucinda “Cindy” Hollingsworth Holbrook, whose image jumped out at me from the smaller obits in the Sunday newspaper: