Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thoughts About Tom Snyder's Passing

Tom Snyder of the Tomorrow Show

Late Show With Tom Snyder

Blowing past the Tonight Show deep into the night on the Late Show with Tom Snyder opened a whole new frontier for those living in small and medium sized television markets. During the 1970's the Late Show on WICS 20 was the only network show still on the air at that time of night. Tom Snyder was king of Late Night.

Tom Snyder's show lured me into the realm of the vampire, the werewolf, and cat burgler.

Not only was it too late to be up for a teen on a week night with school the next morning, but many of Tom Snyder's guest were quite radical. The 1970's was a decade with a 1960's hangover.

The overall effect of airing such edgy guest so late into the night was magical, and had an effect similar to reading a church banned book under the covers with a flashlight. It made every word more intense, more important. More adult.

Tom Snyder was capable of asking very serious, and insightful questions, and then out of nowhere injecting a zinger which he often found uproariously funny - which I without years of reading or adult experience - simply didn't get. I knew he was off the wall, but hearing others laughing with him told me straight out that I had much to learn - no matter how smart I thought I was.

One of the most disturbing televised interviews I have ever watched was one Tom Snyder conducted with Mass Murderer Charles Manson. I knew while watching the interview that Charles Manson was as evil as everyone was saying he was. Not that I didn't already know this from reading Helter Skelter, but seeing Manson was believing in evil incarnate. Television has that power, and Snyder knew how to bring it home.

The 1970's was the last decade in which televised smoking was tolerated, and Tom Snyder was always seemingly shrouded in cigarette smoke. There was definitely something hypnotic in those swirling drifts of smoke which crowned Mr. Snyder's talking head.

Trippin On Tom

Tom Snyder Passes Into History

Tom died of Leukemia today after a two year bout with the big C.

Tom was too old to be a baby boomer, yet too young to be of the greatest generation, but he certainly had an influence on the baby boomers, and was great at what he did. Rest in Peace Tom.

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