I never met Danny Bonaduce. But I knew a lot of guys who did -- the hard way.
For two summers after college, I worked at Kings Island Amusement Park. I was one of the animal characters. That's right. I was one of those guys who dressed up in an animal costume and got my picture taken with the kiddies. We were escorted by the most charming and gorgeous young ladies you could imagine, and who all considered me their pal since I didn't spend most of the summer hitting on them. I was featured in a marketing preview film for the sister park in Virginia, Kings Dominion. My image -- or more precisely, the one I was wearing -- appeared in a national children's fashion magazine. It was the first time in my life I ever felt part of "the gang." All in all, it was the most wonderful time in my life. Other than the present moment.
That would have been the summers of '73 and '74. The year before that was when KI opened. And it was when the cast of television's The Partridge Family filmed a segment at the park. Such was how the veteran characters I worked with ended up working with Danny Bonaduce. To hear them tell it, the guy was a brat. I mean, he was totally out of control. He'd run through a ride that had flying objects while it was operating, and was lucky he didn't get killed. This was in the days before Ritalin, obviously. There was much more to his antics and their place in the theme park's mythology, but I don't remember. I was too busy rolling on the floor laughing at the time.
Closer to the present, and after watching enough segments of VH1's "Behind the Music," I realize the poor guy managed to pick himself up from the bottom, as so many child actors have had to do when they get older. (Anyone know what happened to Jay North of Dennis the Menace? Nope, didn't think so.) The result is a certain amount of respect for Bonaduce. He's still a little out of control. But he makes a decent living, and doesn't spend much time trying to parlay his former television role into an endless stream of pathetic auto shows and shopping mall openings.
His most recent accomplishment to date is his response to a confrontation by some bozo named John Conner, who interrupted Bonaduce's privacy at a sidewalk café for some "man-on-the-street" interview about 9-11. Bonaduce's response earns this week's tip of the Black Hat; less for his opinion about the war in Iraq, than for his refusal to play into the Hollywood mentality of political correctness.
This is mature content, as the expletives used by Bonaduce were all bleeped out, but are nonetheless indicated. If you can handle that, the result is mildly amusing. (Note: Our Lord once referred to a few of his followers as an "evil brood of vipers," which is about as much as you could have insulted anyone back in the day, short of questioning their parentage. I thought I should mention that to a few of my devoted readers. Besides, if "Don Jim" can use the BS word in his blog -- yes, kiddies, the good Padre has succumbed on one occasion -- I should muddle through somehow with my imprimatur intact.)