09 Oct 2006

Bob Tucker (1914—2006), R.I.P.

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Tom Veal, a reprobate I knew at Yale, has penned an impressive elegy, occasioned by the passing of a chap who sounds like a particularly distinguished representative of Sci-Fi fandom. Well worth reading as a testament to the possibilities of American life in the last century.

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DRiordan

I once had coffee at a Denny’s Donut shop with Tucker and his best friend Karl Blakney, in 1997. Karl was also a projectionist from the old days and both had worked in my theater, The Normal Theater. It was recently restored and Tucker and Karl were at the re-opening in 1994, along with five other projectionists who had worked a the theater since it’s first opening in 1937. Tucker told me he wrote some of his stories in the booth, waiting for the next reel change. I had a wonderful talk with them both; at that time, I didn’t know how famous Tucker was; Karl had told me he had written a few sci-fi and mystery books and had even put Karl in one of the stories. He was always putting places and people he knew in his stories. I ahdn’t read any of the books, but found one later. I didn’t get a chance to see Tucker again until 2006 at his funeral. I went with Karl and his wife Priscilla. Someone there asked me if I had ever Googled Tucker. I hadn’t, but after the funeral, I did some research and found out ‘the rest of the story’. Wow. All we did was talk about working at movie theaters! Karl and ‘Bob’ Tucker were the closest friends. They shared a similar childhood, were ‘blood’ brothers in the projectionist union, and were fascinating coffee-conversationalists. I’m glad I had my visit with them, even if I didn’t know I was sitting with a literary icon that day.



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