The Magician

A little over a decade ago, in the final days of Bill Bixby’s life when he on the cover of many tabloids and weeklies (“Bill’s Heroic Battle Against Cancer!”), I was standing in in line at the supermarket behind a woman and her young daughter. The mother pointed to Bixby’s picture on one of the magazines and said “Do you see that man? When I was a your age I had the biggest crush on him. He was on a show called The Courtship Eddie’s Father, and couldn’t wait to grow up and marry him.”

Although I don’t make a habit of talking to strangers in the grocery store, I couldn’t resist saying, “It’s probably best you didn’t — he had one heck of a temper. You wouldn’t have liked him when he was angry.”

To which the woman deadpanned: “That’s not the Bill I loved.”

(I was reminded of this story by a recent discussion on “TV Crushes” at a site I frequent. For the record, the earliest crush I recall having was on Caroline Ellis, who played Joy on The Bugaloos. I distinctly remember my eight year-old heart racing whenever I watched the show.)