Hello Meltingpot Readers,
I just found out that actor Conrad Bain, aka Mr. Drummond from Diff’rent Strokes died on Monday. He was 89.
I can’t say I was a big fan of Bain’s, but I was a loyal viewer of Diff’rent Strokes. That show, along with the Facts of Life, is intrinsically linked to my youth. Those were two of the only sitcoms at the time where the Black characters’ lives slightly resembled my own. No, I wasn’t an orphaned kid from Harlem living with my mother’s former employer, but I understood the agony of being a Black kid living amongst of sea of White and never quite knowing where I belonged.
I didn’t exactly identify with Arnold (played by the actor, Gary Coleman, may he too rest in peace) but I did think he was cute and funny and I could do a pretty great impression of his “Whatchoo talkin’ bout Willis?” tag line. In fact, for a while, all the kids on my bus used to call me Arnold. Yes, they were all White and I was the only Black one, but we don’t have to make assumptions there.
Suffice it to say, I watched every episode and while I was more interested in what Willis and Arnold were up to, and later what Janet Jackson as Charlene was wearing, than what Mr. Drummond brought to the storyline, I also thought he was a good guy. Sure he didn’t always get it with his instant Black family, but he seemed to mean well. I didn’t think he played it ‘too White,’ I think he played it honest. Now, Kimberly? She bothered me. But that’s just me.
Considering the ridiculous offerings network TV is putting out these days, I really miss shows like Diff’rent Strokes, shows that deal with real issues, with multiracial casts, that are both heartfelt and humorous. There’s not a single show on TV right now that I feel approaches those criteria . In honor of Mr. Drummond though, I think I’ll go see if I can find Diff’rent Strokes on Hulu tonight.
For a great obit on Conrad Bain, check the New York Times.
Now the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum…
Dear readers, did you watch Diff’rent Strokes? Did you have a favorite character or episode? Let’s share.