Remember the laughter

Few of the expensive films Hollywood has produced, now in the past, stand the test of time. But remember “National Lampoon’s Animal House”? “Stripes”? “Groundhog Day”? “Caddyshack”? “Vacation”?

Go ahead. Laugh, or at least smile. Those were funny movies – and years from now, they’ll still make people laugh.

One of the creative geniuses – and we don’t use the word lightly -behind those films, Harold Ramis, died this week. He was 69.

Ramis co-wrote, directed and occasionally acted in some of the best comedy movies of the past 30 years. Yet it was the films’ stars, people such as Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, who got most of the credit. They knew better.

Ramis often pointed out the hilarity of how many of us behave, sometimes. From our younger days, many of us remember people like the misfits of “Animal House,” we suspect. And who, on a family vacation, has not paused to worry he was behaving a bit too much like Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Vacation”? How many of us wish we could go back and relive our lives, as in “Groundhog Day”?

Movie stars and directors often get far more publicity than they merit. But Ramis deserved far more plaudits than he received.

He gave us relief from the trials and travails of life. He gave us large doses of what has been said to be excellent medicine for what ails us.

He made us laugh.


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