Mr Ed: Dead and Other Obituaries of Famous People Who Never Lived, by Barry Nelson and Tom Schecker, is an interesting read. The authors take on characters known to most through modern times and created last farewells. Some are amusing; others are intriguing; and a couple are downright creepy.
Take the letter sent by Alice Henderson, the housekeeper of Mike and Carol Brady plus six kids. The Brady Bunch was one of the most popular television shows of the 1970s. In this fictitious piece Henderson gleefully recounts a family whose secrets are badly kept, but she is happy to play along with the fiction of perfection. That is, until a seemingly innocent miscue sends her over the edge. What happens next can be discovered by reading the book.
Holden Caulfield, whose story is told in The Catcher in the Rye, has also perished. Considering more than a few of the fake obits here are from television and film characters, seeing literature make its way into the book is a nice change of pace.
Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice is a movie about swingers that starred Natalie Wood and Robert Culp. The best part about the obit is not the deaths themselves, but the reactions from personnel required to handle the situation.
Not every death notification is a lengthy tale. The item about Mary Richards, whom Mary Tyler Moore brought to every household in America, is merely two lines of copy. Still, they are smile-worthy.
Music plays a role in the obit world through Billy Joel. While no song is specifically mentioned, the references are clearly noted. Each word unravels a little of the mystery which compels any reader to go straight through until the end.
An index of characters recently passed away would have been extremely helpful. Or at least sectioned off by genre. However, it is not needed to enjoy the book.
Both authors take care to pen last remembrances of the subjects with thoughtful diligence. It’s plain to see how much time and effort was put into this work. Any reader will likely find at least one thing to enjoy.