The Dead Beat: Animal Edition

[Editor’s note: Perry Petrich’s biweekly column comes to you this week with a new name, but with the same quirky look back at some of those who’ve gone before us.]

Storm Thorgerson to 24-weeks-ago Thursday

Animals kept Storm in business, kind of.  Mr. Thorgerson designed album covers (a profession for which he possesses an indisputably perfect name).  Nearly everybody from the other side of the pond–Led Zeppelin, Genesis, the Cranberries, and, of course, Pink Floyd–released albums clad in his handiwork.  Perhaps most famously, Thorgerson leaves behind the cancellation of airline flights at London’s Heathrow airport, created by his giant inflatable pig (see cover photo) that broke free of its harness during a photo shoot for the (aptly titled) Pink Floyd album ‘Animals’ and rifted through Heathrow airspace.

Pikachu image courtesy Flickr user Ben+Sam

Pikachu!

Hiroshi Yamauchi 1928 to two-weeks-ago Thursday

They’re not–technically speaking–animals, but Pokemon would not be but for old Hiroshi.  Mr. Yamauchi helmed Nintendo for more than a half-century, bringing us Goombas, Koopas, Donkey Kong and Pikachu (which all, you have to admit, kind of look like animals).  He leaves behind a crowd favorite at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Gus 1985 to five-weeks-ago Saturday

Gus the polar bear was the consummate New Yorker: he moved in his young adulthood from Toledo to the Big Apple, becoming a neurotic recluse until years of psychoanalysis gave him to a semblance of sanity for (literally) millions of passersby to see.  Naturally, he was also fitness freak (backstroking through his pool for 12 hours a day) and had a modern love-life (he was preceded in death by his two female partners with whom he maintained an open marriage and no children).  Alas, his transformation to New Yorker was incomplete: he never wore black. Still, he leaves behind one of Manhattan’s most-prized commodities:  a rent-controlled apartment in an Upper-East doorman building, complete with Central Park views and private swimming pool:

Cal Worthington 1920 to four-weeks ago Sunday

Cal owes his fame to his dog Spot, which actually was not a dog, but just about any other animal: a gorilla, hippo, octopus, skunk, hog, Boa Constrictor, Caribou, iguana, tiger, elephant and a killer whale, to name a few.  For him, they sold cars.  His new dealership floundering from its poor location, young Cal turned to these mammals (+ lizard and snake) to draw customers to ‘go see Cal’, as it were.  You could say he gimmicked his way to greatness.  He was in on the joke:“I try to make my commercials a little less obnoxious than the other guy,” he told The Los Angeles Times in 2003. “They’re obnoxious, but I try to make them a little less obnoxious.” Anyhow, Mr. Worthington leaves behind his frequent visits to Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, a name drop in the Thomas Pynchon novel “Inherent Vice” and, of course, these ads intimately familiar to any who found themselves in front of a Southern California TV in the 70s:

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Cover image courtesy Flickr user Dave Smith

Pikachu image courtesy Flickr user Ben+Sam

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