Henry Gibson- One Of Cinema’s Most Memorable Nazis

My mother would not let me watch Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In in the early 70’s. She felt it was too vulgar and that I would not understand the humor that was being used. So like most kids I would sneak over to my best friend’s house and watch it. By today’s standard there was nothing to it to get upset about and many of the jokes were not that great .

It did change the culture and many of the catch phases of the time were invented on Laugh-In. The regulars on the show included Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, Ruth Buzzi, Judy Carne, Larry Hovis, Arte Johnson, Teresa Graves, Jo Anne Worley and Henry Gibson.

It is Laugh-Ins’ Henry Gibson who has taken his Final Taxi at 73.

I remember a few character’s that Gibson did on the show, including a tea-sipping priest, but mostly he read some of his funny poems.

I didn’t think much about Gibson until about 1977 when the local movie theater showed a double feature of movies that were skit comedy bits. The bill included a film called Tunnel Vison and The Kentucky Fried Movie. Gibson appeared as himself in a fund drive for the United Appeal for the Dead. In it Gibson talks about how the dead can still be a productive member of society even after they have stopped breathing.

It was John Landis’ hilarious 1980 film The Blue Brothers that brought Gibson back in the limelight. Many will remember the head of the ‘Illinois Nazis’ who The Blues Brothers ran their parade into a park stream. The rest of the film Gibson and his band keep try to kill the Blues Brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) and are met with failure since they are “on a mission from God.” Gibson was listed as one of Cinema’s Most Memorable Neo-Nazis by Empire Magazine.

Henry Gibson was born James Bateman and created his comedy persona after serving in Air Force and joking around with a Southern accent. His character was supposed to be from Fairhope, Alabama. His first film appearance was with Jerry Lewis in 1963’s The Nutty Professor. Gibson won a supporting-actor award from the National Society of Film Critics for his character in 1975’s Nashville. He recently has been seen playing recurring roles on two TV shows, Boston Legal and King of the Hill.


2 Responses

  1. great video! it is always good to face death with dignity and pride. Thanks very much for sharing!

  2. Gibson gave a rare accurate portrayal of being wounded in Altman’s Nashville: he goes into shock after being shot. I recall being amazed at that. Underrated actor, great comedian. R.I.P.

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