This is the first Father’s Day without my father. Not that the past few years have been celebrated with anything more than a phone call and a gift bought for him by mom. But still, it brings back the reality of his passing. So, in tribute, I’m going to post the eulogy I wrote for him, which was based on the blog I wrote the day he died. Enjoy:
I recently wrote a play called GEEKS! THE MUSICAL which played to sold out audiences in Hollywood. The story was about people like me: fans of science fiction and comic books. As I think back on it, it was my father who first exposed me to this world.
It was a long time ago in a zip code that is now far, far away (well, for me at least). My father took the family to see this little movie called Star Wars. And it was love at first sight. I couldn’t get enough of this made up universe. My father may not have understood my obsession, but he did drive my mother all around the state one Christmas time searcing for the elusive Millenium Falcon play set… and they found it!
The magical world of the movies was the most memorable things I shared with my father. Back then, going to the movies was an event. There was no local movie theater at that time. Though when the Revere Showcase Cinema opened, my father took me down to check out the opening night festivities. We got to see Joyce Kulhawik, which at the time was like spotting Angelena Jolie.
Before then, Dad took the family to see “Superman: The Movie” and we all believed a man could fly. We were even daring enough to see “Jaws 2” without seeing the original “Jaws” (this was long before the days of cable TV and videos). And after “Close Encounters of The Third Kind” we were building Devil’s Towers out of mom’s mashed potatoes.
Eventually, movie going became a father and son thing. It seemed like a lifetime before “Superman II” came out, but man were those fight scenes worth it. And I felt so guilty for making him sit through “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” I didn’t ask him to take me to see “Wrath of Khan” (even though I remember hinting about it, asking if he could believe a sequel got better reviews than the original). And I try to forget dragging him to see the long forgotten dud called “Meteor” starring Karl Malden… I should have left home without him.
My most memorable movie moment with my father was while we were watching “The Empire Strikes Back.” It’s at the end of the battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader and Vader announces (sorry to ruin the surprise): “No, I am your father!” To which my father exclaimed: “Some father! He just cut his son’s hand off!”
My father did surprise me at one point when he took me and my cousins to see a movie called “Raiders of the Lost Ark” because some friends at work said it was like the old movie serials. For one afternoon, my father was cool in a geeky sort of way.
If my father had flown out to see GEEKS! THE MUSICAL, most of the sci-fi and comic book references would be lost on him. But he’d still have a ball. I’m sure he’d tell the cast and crew that he was my father, and that he created the guy who created the play. And of course, he’d point out (over everything else) that I had put his name in the program and dedicated the show to him and my mom.
I’m very happy that my best work (to date) was dedicated to my father. And it always will be.
May the force be with you.