I read this morning of the death of Buck Henry. He was 89 and, to be honest, I had presumed he was long dead given such a long career.
As someone who watched a zillion episodes of Get Smart growing up, his name is very familiar from the credits. He and Mel Brooks were the creative force behind the show. I loved that Get Smart, and I’m still known to repeat lines from it occasionally (would you believe…?), not that anyone ever recognises the references anymore.
Buck Henry also wrote The Graduate and What’s Up, Doc? which are both great movies, as well as Catch-22. I remember The Graduate as one of those movies that, when I was about the same age as Benjamin in the movie, was influential in how I looked at things. The scenario – hooking up with a sexy suburban mum – was of general interest, but counter-balancing that was a couple of scenes – one when Benjamin is in his new scuba gear at the bottom of the pool disconnected from the world, and the other the final scene in the back of the bus when it dawns on them what they’ve done – and what they’ve committed themselves to.
The Graduate is a classic, but it’s more than just a coming of age comedy. To be fair, the movie is very faithful to the book, including much of the dialogue.
What’s Up, Doc? is my very favourite comedy of all time, I reckon. I’ve watched it heaps of times and laughed like a loon every time. It’s just about the perfect screwball comedy.
He was also a good comic actor – a meek-looking, dweeby sort of character in glasses, put upon, sometimes bureaucratic, and occasionally rebelling against the stereotype.
He’s a part of my cultural development and so I remember him.