Discussion:
Frank Buxton, 87, actor/director; old time radio encyclopaedist; voice of "Batfink"
(too old to reply)
That Derek
2018-01-03 00:24:33 UTC
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No link yet, but word is spreading among OTR (old time radio) fans about the passing of author/historian FRANK BUXTON (age 87, per Wikipedia).
'
Buxton was an actor/voice-over artist known for:
1) one of the English-language over-dubbers for Wody Allen's spy spoof film "What's Up, Tiger Lily?"'
2) the voice of 1960s cartoon character "Batfink";
3) the heroic box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda *"You foods are going to keep your smells to yourselves!").

In OTR circles, Frank Buxton and William Owen (still off-topic) co-authored what is recognized as the first OTR reference book in the mid-1960s; this seminal book reached a wider audience under the title "The Big Broadcast."

Also, Buxton wrote, directed, and produced episodic TV particularly "The Odd Couple." He worked his love for OTR in an episode, likewise titled "The Big Broadcast," in which Felix and Oscar perform in an OTR show recounting great moments in sports.

More as this develops.
Bryan Styble
2018-01-03 09:50:39 UTC
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How come no mention of a Buxton co-hosted show I learned MUCH from as a 1st Grader onward, ABC's terrific after-school nonfiction (but primarily science-oriented) series Discovery '61, Discovery '62, et al.?!?

BRYAN STYBLE/Florida
That Derek
2018-01-04 01:08:14 UTC
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http://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/local/2018/01/03/bainbridge-island-arts-icon-frank-buxton-dies-87/996635001/

Bainbridge Island arts icon Frank Buxton dies at 87

Michael C. Moore, ***@kitsapsun.com

Published 1:14 p.m. PT Jan. 3, 2018 | Updated 1:52 p.m. PT Jan. 3, 2018

Frank Buxton was a gift to Bainbridge Island who just kept on giving.

Buxton, a veteran of television, movies and radio and a familiar and beloved face on the Kitsap arts scene for more than a quarter of a century, died Tuesday morning. Buxton, who moved to Bainbridge Island with his wife, Cynthia Sears, in 1989, was 87 and had been battling health issues for two years.

"The Bainbridge community was everything to him," said John Ellis, who got to know Buxton when both were students in an improvisation class at Bainbridge Performing Arts — the beginning of a beautiful friendship. "He was not just a performer, he was an all-around guy."

Despite Buxton's long career in Hollywood as an actor, writer, producer and director, Ellis said it wasn't surprising that he would turn up as just another student in his new hometown.

"He never stopped being a student," Ellis said. "He never stopped learning."

During his long career, Buxton acted alongside Buster Keaton (in "Three Men on a Horse") and had roles in "What's Up, Tiger Lily" and "Overboard," among others. He worked extensively in a number of capacities in television, and created, wrote, produced and directed the Peabody Award-winning series "Hot Dog" for NBC, working with a cast that included Woody Allen, Tom Smothers, Jonathan Winters and JoAnne Worley.

In 1995, Buxton was one of the cornerstone members of the longstanding improvisational comedy and music troupe The Edge, founded by Ellis and Ken Ballenger. The group has performed monthly at Bainbridge Performing Arts almost without interruption since then, and has occasionally taken the act on tour to venues in Seattle and other points east of Puget Sound.

"I think the two big things in his life were laughing and making other people laugh," said Chris Soldavilla, a professional actor and improviser who joined The Edge when he moved to the island about a decade ago. "If there was a spotlight, it was just that much better.

"He was equal parts your contemporary and friend, and the dad you wanted to impress," Soldavilla said. "He didn't ask to command respect. He just did."

Despite his ill health, Buxton performed with The Edge as recently as November.

"He was always looking for humor, all through the health issues," Ellis said. "We've been laughing for the last two years through this."

Ellis, in a note to TV and comic book writer Mark Evanier, told of a Christmas Eve visit by friends to Buxton's hospital room.

"We sang some songs, and at the end of the last song, (Frank) closed his eyes, dropped his hand from his chest, opened his hand and whispered, ‘Rosebud,'" Ellis wrote. "We all laughed, including Frank. As far as we know, that was his exit line."

"His comic timing was perfect," Ellis said. "That ‘Rosebud’ line (a reference to the Charles Foster Kane's death scene in ‘Citizen Kane') was an example. We all knew exactly what he was doing, and it was perfect."

Buxton apparently slipped into a coma soon after the Christmas Eve visit and passed quietly, surrounded by friends, on Tuesday morning.

https://www.newsfromme.com/?s=frank+buxton

Frank Buxton, R.I.P.

Published Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 6:43 PM.

This is a tough one for me. Actor-writer-director-producer and all-around great guy Frank Buxton died this morning at 11:45, surrounded by family and friends.

Frank was born February 13, 1930 in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He was a self-described "child of the Golden Age of Radio" and quite the expert on the period. In fact, he authored the definitive book on old radio, Big Broadcast, 1920-1950. It's currently out of print but well worth tracking down if the subject interests you in the slightest. Here's a quick clip from a 1969 episode of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on which Frank appeared to promote the book. Earlier in the program, they'd done a re-creation of a script from the Superman radio show and you can see Bud Collyer, who played the title role on that series, sitting on the couch…



Frank was all over TV in the fifties and sixties, hosting this and that, including a game show or two. I still can't quite wrap my brain around the fact that I am friends with the guy who presided over the TV show Discovery when I was ten. Discovery, which aired in the late afternoon Monday through Friday on ABC, was one of the few truly entertaining "educational" programs ever done — like another from many years later called Hot Dog. Frank was also responsible for Hot Dog, which won a Peabody Award in 1970. He was also heard as a voice on many cartoon shows, most notably Batfink on which he played…Batfink.

Frank was also an actor on stage and screen. He used to tell me stories about how at the age of 19, he appeared in a production of Three Men on a Horse with Buster Keaton and later spent a year touring Australia playing the Dick Van Dyke role in Bye Bye Birdie. He had a great many other credits but the one you may know best is that he was one of the perpetrators, led by his friend Woody Allen, of the movie, What's Up, Tiger Lily? Here he is a few years later interviewing Woody in the trailer for the film, Bananas…



Frank continued to act in regional theater but his main occupation became writer, director and producer of situation comedies including Love, American Style, The Odd Couple, Happy Days and Mork & Mindy. That's right: He directed Robin Williams, which he described as both a joy and a helluva challenge. When Mr. Williams passed, Frank wrote me a note about that experience.

For years, I assumed that the Frank Buxton who worked on all those sitcoms was a different Frank Buxton from the guy I enjoyed watching on Discovery. It simply didn't occur to me that one man could be so diverse and so talented. I soon learned they were one and the same and that he was one of the nicest, cleverest people I would ever meet. We became good buddies and whenever we were recording Garfield cartoons and Frank was visiting Los Angeles from his home up north in Washington, I would drag him in to join our voice cast. It made the show better and I got to spend more time with Frank.

Frank's close friend John Ellis just wrote to tell me…

He'd been struggling with heart issues for some time but had gotten stronger with a lot of work and support from his wonderful family and community. Things had been pretty damn good until very recently. He even got back on stage with The Edge in November, and a week before his final trip to the hospital, he was singing up a storm at a workshop.

His exit line was perfectly Frank! We sang some songs Christmas Eve and at the end of the last song, he closed his eyes, dropped his hand from his chest, opened his hand and whispered, "Rosebud." We all laughed (including Frank) and we left his room, but as far as we know that was his exit line.

The Edge is an improv troupe on Bainbridge Island in Washington. It was founded by John and Frank in 1993 and was among the many joys of Frank's life and, I'm sure, John's as well. Frank was always doing something — always writing something, always acting in something, always surrounding himself with wonderful, talented people. I want to go like he did…and I think I'll even steal his exit line. He was truly one of my heroes and it was an honor to know him.
Bryan Styble
2018-01-04 19:40:16 UTC
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Okay, so that fantastic Buxton/Virginia Gibson (along with Corpuscle, the broadcast's bloodhound mascot!) series with the year-advancing title started in 1962, so I gather I was incorrect when I labeled it Discovery '61.

But Buxton and Gibson--or their writers, at least--were usually crystal-clear in the explications of sometimes difficult material, and in 2018 I have to wonder if I would have ever developed into the math and science whiz (and of which I remain under the delusion that I became) had I not turned on ABC those early '60s weekday afternoons once home from Kennerly Elementary School in southwest suburban St. Louis.

Sure, I almost certainly would have stumbled upon Asimov's bottomless pile of NONfiction sooner or later, and that's what ultimately, more than any other single factor, intensified my thirst for knowledge...but I've little doubt that Discovery '62, et al. whetted my appetite for such material that most of my classmates would have resisted as overly complex and thus "boring", and so likely my impetus to start delving into Sir Isaac's corpus of factual technical prose and all the other information sources I rely upon was accelerated by my regular viewing of the show in my early youth.

So eternal thanks, tele-educator Buxton; to this day I recall particular Discovery editions frequently, and suddenly have the urge to access a couple Discoverys* on YouTube.

STYBLE/Florida
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* No, Discoveries would not be the correct plural here.
Bryan Styble
2018-01-04 19:58:07 UTC
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And boy do I now regret never taking the ferry over to Bainbridge Island all those years I was propagating conversation at the speed of light over KIRO/Seattle!

Shortly after I moved up to Puget Sound from Albuquerque in 2005, I learned that the aged Buxton not only lived on Bainbridge, but was still quite active in its vibrant creative scene, and thus would be quite easy to meet for anyone who really tried. Not only was it a golden opportunity for the celebrity hound that I am to meet and probably even hang for a bit with another of my many heroes, but here was a guy who quite likely changed my life scientifically as much as that Nobel lit laureate with the funny nose, the funnier hair and the funniest voice did artistically for me!

But while it was for years on my list to accomplish way up there*, I just never got around to boarding that Bainbridge ferry. Darn; should have been meditating in those days!

STYBLE/Florida
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* Almost no one--even Seattleites!--believes me when I inform that that Seattle, a FULL HUNDRED MILES SOUTH OF CANADA--is nonetheless at a higher latitude than the northernmost point in Maine.
AngloSaxon
2018-01-05 04:05:59 UTC
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Post by Bryan Styble
And boy do I now regret never taking the ferry over to Bainbridge Island
all those years I was propagating conversation at the speed of light over
KIRO/Seattle!
Post by Bryan Styble
Shortly after I moved up to Puget Sound from Albuquerque in 2005, I
learned that the aged Buxton not only lived on Bainbridge, but was still
quite active in its vibrant creative scene, and thus would be quite easy to
meet for anyone who really tried. Not only was it a golden opportunity for
the celebrity hound that I am to meet and probably even hang for a bit with
another of my many heroes, but here was a guy who quite likely changed my
life scientifically as much as that Nobel lit laureate with the funny nose,
the funnier hair and the funniest voice did artistically for me!
Post by Bryan Styble
But while it was for years on my list to accomplish way up there*, I just
never got around to boarding that Bainbridge ferry. Darn; should have been
meditating in those days!
Post by Bryan Styble
STYBLE/Florida
Your hero, the guy who changed your life, and face it... you never bothered
to walk across the street to meet him yet had years and years to do it.
Styble, it would be hard-put to find another like you in a public forum. I'm
not even being critical or sarcastic because it's so astounding, the way
you self-reveal. *

That Derek
2018-01-04 04:55:50 UTC
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https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/frank-buxton-dead-odd-couple-happy-days-writer-director-was-87-1071374

Frank Buxton, Writer and Director on 'The Odd Couple' and 'Happy Days,' Dies at 87

1:47 PM PST 1/3/2018
by Mike Barnes, Rhett Bartlett

The voice of Batfink and host of kids TV shows, he enjoyed a close association with Garry Marshall and Woody Allen during his eclectic career.

[Here's a YouTube link to Frank Buxton providing the voice of the heroic box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda -- the ones the smelly foods call "party pooper."]



Frank Buxton, who wrote and directed episodes of The Odd Couple and Happy Days and provided the voice of the 1960s cartoon superhero Batfink, has died. He was 87.

Buxton battled heart issues for some time and died Tuesday at Harrison Medical Center on Bainbridge Island in Washington, his friend John Kenyon Ellis told The Hollywood Reporter. "He was a hell of a guy and will be sorely missed," Ellis said.

Buxton wrote seven episodes of The Odd Couple, the 1970-75 ABC sitcom co-developed by Garry Marshall; the first one was the classic season-three installment "Password," which cleverly employed the name of the Greek playwright Aristophanes as Oscar (Jack Klugman) and Felix (Tony Randall) become game-show contestants.

Buxton also directed and produced episodes of The Odd Couple and worked on Happy Days and Mork & Mindy, two other Marshall sitcoms, as well. And he appeared onscreen in Beaches (1988) and Frankie and Johnny (1991), two features helmed by Marshall.

Buxton co-wrote and did redubbing work on Woody Allen's quirky directorial debut, What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), and he created the 1970-71 NBC kids documentary series Hot Dog that featured Allen, Jonathan Winters and Jo Anne Worley and won a Peabody Award.

Earlier, Buxton had teamed with actress Virginia Gibson (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) to host another acclaimed kids news show, ABC's Emmy-winning Discovery, which aired weekday afternoons and Sunday mornings starting in 1962.

The syndicated TV cartoon Batfink was created in 1966 at a time when Batman and The Green Hornet were extremely popular crime fighters in primetime on ABC. Buxton's hero was a gray bat with supersonic radar and metallic wings ideal for deflecting bullets, and his sidekick was a guy named Karate.

A native of Wellesley, Massachusetts, Buxton early in his career appeared on stage with Buster Keaton in Three Men on a Horse and spent a year touring throughout Australia in Bye Bye Birdie, performing the role of Albert Peterson that Dick Van Dyke made famous.

Buxton also wrote for other TV series including Love, American Style, The Bob Newhart Show and One Day at a Time, hosted an ABC game show called Get the Message and did voice work on Garfield and Dennis the Menace cartoons.

A founding member of a local improv group called The Edge, Buxton was named an "island treasure" in 2010 for his contribution to the arts in his community, Ellis noted.

[Here's a YouTube link to a segment from the 1970s "ABC'S Saturday Superstar Movie: Popeye Meets the Man Who Hated Laughter" where you can hear Buxton providing the voice of "Flash Gordon"]:



[And Buxton as the heroic box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda -- Party Pooper!]

http://youtu.be/sXybLXZU9EQ
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