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12 August 2005

Death: There Is A Funny Side...


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fter this past week of doom and gloom, I thought I would simply finish out the week with at least a kinda/sorta humorous item on the dark side. Actually it kind of surprised me, but then why should anything surprise me anymore. Did you know there was a popularity contest amongst dead stars? Yes, you read that correctly.

I'm not kidding... there is a company who sends out questionaires and asks people to rank their favorite dead TV, movie and stage stars.

Lucille Ball is America's most beloved dead star. The company that developed the "Q score" that broadcasters and advertisers quietly consult to measure a personality's popularity has done a survey that tests the reputation of performers who have gone on to that big soundstage in the sky.

The redheaded sitcom star of the 1950s and '60s, who died in 1989, has topped past "Dead Q" lists as her comedies seemingly live forever on television, said Steve Levitt, president of Marketing Evaluations, Inc., which conducts the tests.

"What is there not to like about Lucy?" he said. Bob Hope, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Red Skelton follow her on the popularity list.

For 41 years, Levitt's company has given consumers a list of names and asked if they know the people and to rate how much they like them. From their responses they calculate the Q score, a measure of both familiarity and likability.

Advertising executives use the information to make sponsorship decisions, while broadcasters check Q scores to see how well their news and entertainment stars are connecting. Dead stars still do business, though. Coors used film clips of Wayne in a popular commercial, while Fred Astaire has danced to hawk a vacuum cleaner.

"Some of these deceased personalities have Q scores equal to or greater than some of the live personalities we measure," Levitt said. Two performers are relatively new to the list: Johnny Carson and John Ritter were both ranked among the 10 most popular dead stars.

Others offer a reminder of television's power to keep people figuratively alive; "The Honeymooners" star Jackie Gleason, who died in 1987, is still remembered and beloved. "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz and Michael Landon fill out the top 10.

Observations and Questions
I'm glad to know that the dead stars are still working hard. They are working harder than some live people I know. Do you have a favorite dead star you would like to see doing commercials? Would you buy the toothpaste that dead star Bela Lugosi was selling on TV?

Birth Announcements and Death Notices

In 1859, Katharine Lee Bates, US, author (America the Beautiful) and in the death notices we have in 1982, Henry Fonda, actor, (On Golden Pond), dies at 77 from heart disease.

Gentle Reminder of the Day

Still time :) Come on, you know you wanna send in your picture.

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