The great Buck Henry died this week and he will be sorely missed. I saw him perform on Broadway earlier this century in a remounting of “Mornings at Seven” and he was terrific. But I will miss him for all that he created.
He was the primary screenwriter for “The Graduate.” He teamed with Mel Brooks to create the fantastic television series “Get Smart.” He worked with John Belushi on the memorable samurai sketches and breathed life into the disturbing and hilarious Uncle Roy.
But I love him most for something he did when I was too young to remember directly. He teamed with the great Alan Abel in a movement called the “Society for Indecency to Naked Animals” (SINA) which hoodwinked society, the news media and the world for years. As spokesperson and president of the group the deadpan Mr. Henry insisted that society put pants on dogs, horses, cows and zoo animals because it was indecent to have them walking around without them. From 1959 to 1962 he claimed that it was evidence of society’s moral decline to allow those animals to amble about unclad. They even roped in Walter Cronkite to report on them. I first read about the caper in Allan Sherman’s excellent book “The Rape of the A*P*E (American Puritan Ethic)” and have been a fan ever since. We miss you already Buck Henry.