kent_allard_jr: (Default)
Largely unknown to most of you, I'm sure, but he's one of my all-time favorite jazz pianists. His renditions of "It's Me, Oh Lord" and "Oh! What a Beautiful Morning" were among the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. He was most famous, though, for accompanying Marilyn Monroe when she sang "Happy Birthday" to JFK. Via Wonkette, of all places, celebrating the 48th anniversary of the performance; they linked to this little clip:

Unlike too many jazz greats, he lived to a ripe old age, and was playing almost to the end. Rest in peace.
kent_allard_jr: (morans)
May he rest in peace.
kent_allard_jr: (Dungeon Master)
I hate to announce this, but it's now been confirmed.

As I've said before, I think Arneson was the real "idea man" in the Gygax/Arneson partnership. He introduced the "dungeon" concept; turned the wargaming referee into the Game Master; used ability scores and experience to customize characters... Hell, just about every true innovation that made roleplaying games what they are came out of his head.

Arneson didn't seem to have the energy (or the talent for self-promotion) that Gary Gygax had. I bought a number of his post-D&D products over the years, from Adventures in Fantasy to his Blackmoor books. Most of them were made with collaborators, and those that weren't had a helter-skelter, unfinished quality to them. (One exception: His solitaire scenario for Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes, which was pretty good, actually.) My impression is that he was more of a hobbyist than an entrepreneur.

I got to meet and talk to him at GenCon years ago. He was a sweet, funny and self-deprecating old guy. He signed my old D&D boxed set, and for years I considered sending a copy of Two Fisted Tales to thank him. Sadly, now, I'll never get the chance. Rest in peace, Dave.

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kent_allard_jr

August 2012

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