In Memory of Harold Ramis (1944–2014)

Harold Ramis died last week after several courageous years fighting a debilitating disease.

I first met Harold in the ’70s, and he always had as positive an outlook as anyone I’ve ever met. Through all his successes, he remained unimpressed with himself, and he would do anything to help those in need, even strangers. He was such a sweet guy, and was taken far too early.

In memory of Harold, we’d like to share a few of the rare bits of footage we have in our archive.

The first video was produced as part of the TVTV Show, a 1977 program by seminal video pioneers TVTV (of which I was a co-founder, although I did not work on this wonderful satiric segment). You’ll recognize Harold as one of the Merry Men of Texaco in this spoof on the iconic sponsored opening of Texaco Star Theater, one of the most popular television shows from 1948–1956. Joining Harold are two other Second City alum—Ira Miller and Murphy Dunne. The “clown” is Willie Walker.

The second clip is from rare footage of The Second City Chicago, where Harold, John Belushi, Joe Flaherty, and Jim Fisher act out a sports highlights reel, including rewinding the footage and putting it in slow motion.

The final clip is an outtake from TVTV Goes to the Super Bowl (1976). The footage was part of an extended bit of comedy improvisation shot with Harold, Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Christopher Guest.

In addition, we think you’ll appreciate this video that’s not part of mediaburn.org. In it, Harold shows his depth and self-effacement as he talks for about four minutes about the brilliant metaphor at the heart of Groundhog Day.

Oh, and one last thing: If you want to see a kinescope of the actual Merry Men from Texaco introducing Milton Berle in a dress, check out this video.

—Tom Weinberg

Watch the full videos of the Second City Chicago show and 33 minutes of raw outtakes from TVTV Goes to the Super Bowl at Media Burn.

 

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