RIP, Miloš Forman and Art Bell

Friday the 13th is known to be a little… crazy.  I told a coworker yesterday that unless he was a crusader knight, he had very little worry about.  But as it turns out, the world lost a couple of big names, both of whom are noteworthy in my personal circles of interest.

Czech director Miloš Forman forever fought against totalitarianism in his own way, ultimately thriving in the world of Hollywood.  As a film student, he’ll always be fondly remembered for my two favorites of his: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus.  Both of these films earned him the coveted Oscar.  He passed away in his home yesterday, age 86.  There is so much about his career that reads like a fiction novel.  If you have the chance, look it up.  Amazing story.

Which brings me to the other name on this post.  Art Bell III, former US Air Force medic and host of the hugely popular Coast to Coast AM syndicated radio program, passed away age 72 at his home.  There’s so much I could talk about here.  Bell was a voice in the wilderness for me for a lot of years, talking with the people no one else would interview about the topics no one else would touch.  The paranormal, the unexplained, conspiracy theory… he’d cover seemingly anything.  More importantly, he kept it reined in so that the topic could be discussed with an open mind, but not so open that your brains leaked out (most of the time).  I always respected his approach, even when I maybe didn’t agree with him or when his guests were, shall we say, “out there.”  Bell would ask the right questions and allow them to tell their stories.  Some things were obviously full of crap, and some things being discussed would resonate just enough to ask the two most powerful words in the English language: “What if?”  As Shakespeare tells us, “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of your philosophy.”  While I can’t always say it about the callers, the program itself was structured around the idea of openness and non-persecution.  I’ve always respected that.  It’s certainly an alien concept in today’s world.  For an insomniac living in the middle of nowhere, with an interest in radio and in strange tales, this program was so much fun in the small hours of Saturday nights.

These guys will be missed, suffice it to say.  They each leave quite the legacy.  My thoughts go with those they leave behind.

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