Monday, February 6, 2017

To Me, Walter Matthau Always Seemed Old...Until Yesterday

As we waited for this year's Super Bowl to begin, I did a little channel surfing. I stopped on a musical, the Gene Kelly-directed 1969 classic, Hello Dolly, staring Barbara Streisand and Walter Matthau.

I've not followed Matthau's career too seriously. Most people around my age know of his work, The Odd Couple, Charade, I.Q., Grumpy Old Men (and its sequel), and, of course, The Bad News Bears. Many of the shows I've seen him in were produced the 1970s and later, so whenever I saw him in a film or on TV, he always looked old to me. Even in Hello Dolly the man looked old, and that film was from the 1960s, if only barely.

So, as the music played and the actors sang and danced, I decided to look up Mr. Matthau on IMDb. It was then I realized something surprising.

Walter Matthau was born October 1, 1920 in New York as Walter Jake Matthow. I then did a little math. In 1969 when they filmed Hello Dolly, Walter Matthau was forty-nine-years old. So as I watched an older lead actor playing opposite a co-star twenty-two years his younger, it hit me. He was at least two years younger than I am now.

Ever since I turned about twenty-years old I've been told I look younger than I am. It still happens occasionally today. And since I've never been over fifty-years old before, I'm not really sure how it feels to be this old, or how I'm suppose to feel. But one thing I know. The man playing Mr. Horace Vandergelder in the musical we watched before watching Tom Brady orchestrate the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history looked a lot older than forty-nine.

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