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Give a cheer for Coach Calhoun: Sid Caesar dies at age 91



Sid Caesar, who died this week at age 91, gave one of the saddest and most endearing lines that I remember from the movie Grease. At the pep rally for the football team at the start of the movie, it's Caesar who brings his hapless team in front of the big bonfire to deliver what he hopes will be the winning motivation to break a long losing streak:

"We're gonna yank 'em and tear 'em and rip 'em! We're gonna take 'em and roll 'em around and rip 'em up to pieces. And then we're gonna SLAUGHTER them!"

And then he finishes it, "And then we're gonna come back here, and ring that victory bell!" The crowd erupts and only a patient viewer will appreciate or even catch his quiet last addition: "... like we always wanted to."

Ah, Coach Calhoun. I need to believe you eventually got to ring that bell.

Caesar appeared in a handful of '80s movies, the most memorable being Mel Brooks' History of the World Part 1 (as the head caveman), The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu and Cannonball Run II. He also reprised his Coach Calhoun rule for 1982's Grease 2. His last big-screen appearance was in 2004.

He died Wednesday, Feb. 12, at his home in Beverly Hills. Longtime fans will remember him for his TV work in the 1950s, when he led Your Show of Shows, must-see TV on Saturday nights.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 13, 2014 9:28am]


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