November 3, 2011

Our Heroes Are Getting Older

Pop culture is a reference point for lots of people, myself included. And it occurred to me the other day that my childhood heroes - or, while not heroes, people I saw on TV, listened to on the radio or watched in movies - are aging.

Remember when Perry Farrell and Jane's Addiction started the whole alternative music scene? He's 52. Axl Rose turns 50 in a couple of months. Sebastian Bach is 43. Madonna is 53. Robert Plant is 63. The youngest guy in Metallica is 48. The youngest guy in Pearl Jam is 45 and in Soundgarden it's 43. The youngest guy in The Stones is 67.

The Brat Pack aged too. Molly Ringwald (43), Judd Nelson (51), Emilo Estevez (49), Rob Lowe (47), Ally Sheedy (49), Demi Moore (48), and Andrew McCarthy (48) are all long past the point at which teen angst is appropriate. The dorky kid from Jerry Maguire can drink now. Macaulay Culkin's okay to be home alone...or even own a home. He's 31. William Shatner is 80. Mark Hammil is 60. All of the guys who portrayed Darth Vader are in their seventies or eighties. Magnum PI is 66, Sonny Crockett is 61, and Ricardo Tubbs is 62.

Douglas Coupland - the guy who coined the term Generation X then wrote about it - is 49. Brett Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero, The Informers, American Psycho) is 47. Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) is 49. Jay McInerney (Bright Lights Big City) is 57.

Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers and Jim Henson are all dead. Pee-wee Herman (or Paul Reubens) is 59 yet astonishingly youthful.

I guess it's inevitable - we all get older and so do those we grow up with.

Who were your childhood pop culture icons?

Posted by Chris at November 3, 2011 7:34 AM

As a child of the 70's, it was Little House on the Praire for me. My 9 yr old daughter recently discovered (and fell in love with) the show and we've been watching all the old reruns together. Of course Michael Landon (and a few of the older cast members) are dead, but finding out that little Laura Ingalls/Melissa Gilbert is 47 I think is the thing that made me feel really old.

Posted by: fauve at November 3, 2011 8:26 AM

David Cassidy (61!? yikes!)

Posted by: Kaz at November 3, 2011 8:52 AM

Do you realize that the only remaining cast from Gilligan's Island are Tina Louise (Ginger - age 77), Dawn Wells (Mary Ann - age 73), and Russell Johnson (the Professor - age 87)? The rest -- Gilligan, the Skipper, Mr. & Mrs. Howell -- have all passed on.

Posted by: J at November 3, 2011 9:32 AM

OK, now I feel old. Thanks. The Cosby Show, Growing Pains, Who's The Boss, Family Ties....ack.

Posted by: Effie at November 3, 2011 11:02 AM

Being that my name is Mindy - definitely Robin Williams and Pam Dauber.

And I was going to marry Michael J. Fox.

I may have named my son Alex after him (his name was Alex P. Keaton, not Alexander, and my son's name is Alex, not Alexander. It's just a coincidence, though. Yeah.)

Posted by: Mindy Lee at November 3, 2011 12:11 PM

I don't know that I had a lot of icons from my *youth* youth, but recently Jani Lane died, and although the causes weren't quite natural, Warrant was the first rock band I LOVED, so that was a hard day for me. Two of my former teachers and Steve Jobs...the hard part for me about all this is the idea that it's my turn to take up that mantle, you know? The people who taught me, who rocked me, who showed me the future, they're gone.

Posted by: Brooke at November 3, 2011 12:49 PM

I was okay until you told me the kid from Jerry Maguire can now drink legally! And that Capt. Kirk is 80! Wow!

To continue that thought, Capt Kirk was my hero as a kid. I loved watching Star Trek as a kid with my dad. He ended up ordering like this Star Trek story book club and we had hundreds (well, maybe not that many) of these Star Trek books based on the series. They were awesome. Wonder what happened to those? hmmm...

You and I are very similar in tastes, so just about everyone you mentioned was one of my 'heros.' Scary how time passes!

Posted by: cyndy at November 3, 2011 3:14 PM

These were all mine...omg...I can feel the liver spots springing up on my body. But then I look at the age I am and I can't even grasp it. ***sigh***

Posted by: Jean at November 3, 2011 4:49 PM

Lately a lot of my favorite shows while growing up have been popping up on Netflix (right now I"m reawatching Twilight Zone and the Wonder Years) and it's mentally transporting me back to younger days.

Posted by: Rengirl at November 7, 2011 6:56 PM

Wow; 90% of these shows (or better) were all over my television growing up; Star Trek, Little House on the Praire, Gilligan's Island, The Cosby Show, Growing Pains, Who's The Boss, Family Ties, Mork & Mindy, Twilight Zone. But I 'so' try to avoid tv ever since I realized what a negative influence it's had on most.

However, just for the sake of reminiscence, want to add a few of my favorite cartoons:
* Sinbad the Sailor (the cartoon)
* Thundercats
* Thundarr the Barbarian
* Popeye the Sailorman
* Superfriends
* Hong Kong Phooey
* Spiderman and his Amazing friends


Posted by: Timothy L. Gott at November 8, 2011 2:18 AM