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Underappreciated (and All Too Brief) Career of Harold Ramis

I was very saddened Monday to hear about the passing of Harold Ramis at the age of 69.

But while his acting in movies like ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Stripes’, directing  the likes of ‘Caddyshack’, and ‘Groundhog Day’, and writing for movies like ‘Animal House’ and ‘Analyze This’ will dominate his obituary, I fell in love with his comedic genius back in the 1970′s when Harold was a regular cast member of Canada’s ‘Second City Television’ (SCTV).

There, in 1976 and 1977, Harold worked for two seasons alongside great talents like John Candy, Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas, Andrea Martin, and Catherine O’Hara.

The shows featured some of the best sketch comedy around, consistently giving America’s newly created ‘Saturday Night Live’ (which started in 1975) a run for its’ money.

The same qualities that American audiences would later come to appreciate in ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Stripes’ were on display in those early SCTV days.

In fact, I always preferred Ramis’ brand of dry, low key humor, to the more ‘over-the-top’ approach of his fellow Ghostbuster and Army buddy, Bill Murray.

Need an example?

Check out Harold Ramis as Mort Finkel in “Do It Yourself Dentistry’:

And here’s something you might not know about Harold Ramis.  Did you know he was the voice of ‘Marty the Moose’, the Walley World mascot in ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ (which Ramis directed)? Most people don’t because he was never credited for the role.

Here’s the clip in case you forgot (WARNING! Clip contains adult language)

Rest in peace Harold Ramis.

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