Sunday, November 4, 2007

My father-in-law is probably more famous than your father-in-law.

My husband's father, Jay Jackson, would have turned 87 today. In addition to doing dozens of voiceovers and TV commercials (he was the voice of Crest toothpaste), Jay was an early host of Tic-Tac-Dough and Twenty Questions. His most famous role, though, was as game show host Herb Norris on the "$99,000 Answer" episode of The Honeymooners. TV Guide named that episode the 6th funniest TV episode of all time, and a clip was used on "The Sopranos."

A sample of his wit: One day Jay and some friends were discussing the comparative merits of Long Island golf courses.

A friend noted, "Perry Como belongs to your country club. I've heard he's a hell of a guy."

Jay's reply: "Yes, I've heard that, too."

He was a one-of-a-kind man with a million stories to tell. And as a far-removed celebrity groupie from Minnesota, I was easily dazzled by his encounters with Lucille Ball, Louis Armstrong, and a cast of other larger-than-life characters.

My kids loved having him as a grandpa. One running gag involved my son Joey. We'd put him on the phone so grandpa could quip, "Hello, Joe. Whaddya know?" And Joey, a toddler, would reply. "Hey, Jay. Whaddya say?"

And we have some sweet recordings (somewhere) of our oldest son, John, singing "Little Sir Echo" with Grandpa Jay.

Steve and I think about Jay especially at certain times...during Ohio State and New York Giants football games, at the end of golf tournaments, and especially those nights when we wind down for the night watching classic game shows on tv.

Class, wit, warmth, and a booming baritone. That was Jay Jackson. And I'm toasting him today.

1 comment:

Stace said...

Aww. What a cool guy. That's great that you have that recording.