Bringing the dead back to life

The other day I was thinking about whom to call back from the dead and I came up with five names (this time):

Miles Davis.

Dave Brubeck.

John Steinbeck.

Fred Rogers.

Jeff Cleveland.

Ah, I see you want to know why, so I will tell you, but only because I like you.

With Miles and Brubeck, I want to hear them duet on “Strange Meadowlark” and “So What.”

With Mr. Rogers and Steinbeck, I want to listen to them discuss “East of Eden.”

With Jeff, my brother, it’s just that I miss him, and he’s been dead 7.5 years, and I figure that’s enough.

Wouldn’t it be cool, though, if you could call back the dead ala “Truly, Madly, Deeply?” If you didn’t see that Alan Rickman-Juliet Stevenson movie, you should. Make sure you have a lot of Kleenex handy.

You might wonder why I chose to call back cultural figures rather than historical ones. Maybe it’s because I assume whatever character from history shows up will only lie.

“I’m back? Wow. I can burnish my reputation.”

And then I wonder what, say, George Washington would think of contemporary America. If Ronald Reagan’s daughter thinks this, according to the Huffington Post and other news outlets (real news; not that cable TV thingy with women in skimpy clothes and men with bad hair):

“Patti Davis, the daughter of former President Ronald Reagan, imagined what her father would think of current President Donald Trump. And she didn’t hold back.

“In a letter posted Sunday in The Washington Post to mark Tuesday’s June 5 anniversary of her father’s death, Davis wrote that her dad would have condemned Trump’s abuse of power and incendiary rhetoric.

“‘He would be appalled and heartbroken at a Congress that refuses to stand up to a president who not only seems ignorant of the Constitution but who also attempts at every turn to dismantle and mock our system of checks and balances’,” she wrote.

“‘He would plead with Americans to recognize that the caustic, destructive language emanating from our current president is sullying the dream that America once was,” she added. “‘And in a time of increased tensions in the world, playing verbal Russian roulette is not leadership, it’s madness.'”

Imagaine what Washington would think.

Well, I’ve always liked Patti Davis.

But I know what you’re thinking: How can I call back Miles when he has such a horrible reputation for beating up women? Yeah, I’m conflicted. If I were sent to a desert island and could take only three recordings, his 1961 Carnegie Hall concert would be one of them.

I can’t defend Miles as a person. But man, that horn …

I can still listen to Miles but I’m having trouble trying to figure out what to do with my “Shipping News” DVD. I LOVE that movie but … Kevin Spacey? Ooooohhhhh, that makes me uncomfortable. I’m afraid that if I watch it again — I’ve seen it at least six times — I won’t be able to separate Quoyle from Spacey which is weird because when we see a movie, usually, we always try to see the character, right? Well, expect for John Wayne who always played John Wayne. Thank God he never had to act; he would have starved.

Netflix was able to easily fix “House of Cards” because Claire was taking over the presidency, anyway, and all we need to find out in the final season is exactly what she did with Frank. No big deal. But they can’t blot him out of “Shipping News” and I’m afraid I won’t be able to suspend disbelief.

Anyway, the BBC “House of Cards” with Ian Richardson was far better. He was a marvelous actor (he died in 2007, more’s the pity) and he made Francis Urquhart a really likeble character, as evil as he was. He was evil in a FUN way, not a pure evil way, although he was pretty pure evil. Richardson should have lived longer but maybe, if I do a CALL ‘EM BACK Part 2, I’ll bring him along to discuss acting with Vivian Leigh. And I’ll call up Edith Piaf to sing with Billie Holliday, or maybe Sarah Vaughan, or maybe I’ll call back all three – it’s my thing, I make the rules, I guess.

But enough. Make your own list of the dead you want to bring back. You can send it to me, if you wish. Right now, I’ve gotta break up this fight between Steinbeck and Fred Rogers caused when Steinbeck made a pass at Queen Sarah after punching King Friday in the nose. (Steinbeck was a drinker, you know, and I know that because my grandfather, who wrote for Hollywood, once brought him home to the house and they were, my father said, both drunk.)

“Fred. Fred! FRED! Let John out of that headlock. You’re hurting him!”