Stephen J. Cannell

I realise this blog is increasingly in danger of just becoming a list of celebrities whose deaths I’m sad about, but Stephen J. Cannell is one that really hit me hard.

When I was 10, my poor little brain couldn’t handle any celebrity or character with more than one name. For example, like most kids then, I loved The A-Team. And as fanatical as I was about that show, I still couldn’t manage their surnames. They were Murdock, Hannibal, Face and BA. No more, no less. I tried to remember BA’s surname, but I think I kept calling him “Balackus” or something. Maybe I was a little racist as a kid. I also used to think “Darth Vader” was called “Dark Vader”. You see, because he wore all blackSince I’m already in this hole of self-shame, I may as well dig a little deeper and say that I also used to think the “Standing strong forever” line in “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” was “Santa’s gone forever” because, y’know, Santa being gone means you’re all grown up. I had awesome logic..

Point is, you give me a celebrity or a character with two names, I was boned. In Knight Rider, I just knew the guy as “Michael”. I never once twigged that his surname was in the title. Durr.

But as much trouble as I had with names, I knew who the fuck Stephen J. Cannell was. With this one guy, I not only remembered his first name and his last name, but I fucking remembered his middle initial and everything. Know why? Because his logo came at the end of some of my favourite shows. And when I hear the jingle from his logo, I get a sort of pavlovian response. I feel happy. I feel like I’m 10 years old again. And I don’t just mean that in some hyperbolic way. I mean I literally feel 10 years old again. If I close my eyes and listen to that jingle, I feel like I’m sitting in front of our dodgy TV on a Saturday afternoon and now I’m going outside to recreate everything I just saw on TV.

Bagsy being BA.

Thanks, Stephen.

Bonus: Stephen J. Cannell also did a show called Tenspeed and Brownshoe starring Jeff Goldblum. This was less good. I bought the pilot on VHS for 50p a few years ago.