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Top "10" Coolest TV Characters: The Guys (Jerome A. Holst © 2009)

Al Holst, Owner of TV ACRESThe other day I was watching TV and I noted that one of the characters was really cool. By that I mean, he had a hidden strength about him. Something that I believe everyone picked up on, yet the character was not aware that he had such a trait.


Curious, I check the Internet sources like Dictionary.com, as well as my trusty, well-worn, desk-side Webster's collegiate dictionary in the red cover which I have keep for those days when the web is down.

After comparing multiple sources, certain phrases repeated themselves. To be cool meant: someone who was "Marked by calm self-control: a cool negotiator." 2: marked by calm self-control (especially in trying circumstances).

Many of these references attached the term icy or distant or aloof with the meaning, but in this case, let's eliminate those modifiers and just concentrate on the idea of a person who is the strong silent type, a person who can handle problems when they arrive and a person who can always survive the situation with a bit of decorum.

Appling these guidelines, I set about to discover what TV characters measured up to this description. My conclusion was not easily reached, because there are many characters who could have won the day in this contest of "coolness", but the winners in this case, reflect my own inner passions and beliefs.

So for better or worse, here are my top ten picks of the TOP '10' Cool TV characters of all time. Here are the Guys:

No. 10. - Illya Kuryakin (Man from Uncle) - He saves the world with the quiet demeanor of a church mouse. Unlike his suave, partner Napoleon Solo, Illya in the introvert in the relationship. While Napoleon likes the limelight and beautiful women, Illya prefers a good book and a beautiful woman. Note: David McCallum who played Illya is still exuding cool as Ducky, the verbose forensic scientist on the drama NCIS.)

No. 9. The Lone Ranger (The Lone Ranger) - The fact that the ultra-cool Fonzie from the 1950s based sitcom HAPPY DAYS thought the Long Ranger was cool usurped his position from this list. Hey, why have the Fonz when you can have his mentor and personal hero. I'm sure the Fonz would agree that the masked rider of the plains (as well as his cool sidekick Tonto) deserves the top ten nomination. After bringing the Cavendish gang to justice for the murder of a group of Rangers, his brother among them, John Reid, dedicated his life to fighting injustice in the Old West. I can think of no cooler nor nobler lifestyle to pursue.

"As the surviving Ranger transformed into this new identity the narrator remarks that in his eyes of Ranger "There is a light that must have burned in the eyes of the knights in armor. A light that through the ages lifted the souls of strong men who fought for justice, for God." Just then Reid proclaims "I'll be the Lone Ranger." The TV adaptation featured the solemn pledge "For every one of those men (his fallen Ranger colleagues) I'm going to bring a hundred lawbreakers to justice. I'll make that Cavendish Gang, and every criminal that I can find for that matter, regret the day those Rangers were killed. Tonto from this moment on I'm going to devote my life to establishing law and order in this new frontier-to make the West a decent place to live."

No. 8. The Sweathogs (Welcome Back, Kotter) - Here's a group that has it all, from the coolest to the cooler. These guys are on
the flip-flop of normal but despite their contempt for authority and education, they turn out be decent enough fellows
and cool in their own right. The four original Sweathogs were:

  • Juan Luis Pedro Phillipo De Huevos Epstein (Robert Hegyes),
    a Puerto-Rican Jew who lapsed into impersonations of the Marx Brothers on occasion and brought attention to himself with his
    forged notes from his mother ("Roses are red, violets are blue, I've been home two days with the Asian flu")
  • Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs), a tall, hip black student who suavely introduced himself by saying "Hi, there"
  • Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo), the group's looney-toon whose catchphrase was "Ooh, ooh," (perhaps in tribute to Joe E. Ross)
  • Vinnie Barbarino (John Travolta), a slender, Italian Catholic who thought he was God's gift to women and who spoke such
    catchphrases as "I'm so confused," and "Who, what, where?"

Later in the series, new students joined the ranks of the Sweat-
hogs. They were: Angie Globagoski (Melonie Haller), the first female Sweat-hog; and Beau De Labarre (Stephen Shortridge), a
smooth talking southern exchange student who could talk his way out of any difficulty.

No. 7. Hyde (That 70s Show)

No. 6. Mr. Spock (Star Trek) - Here's one sci-fi character who could never be called a "Herbert." Completely in charge, able to calculate the time of day down to the second (with out a watch) and read your mind with the help of a Vulcan mind meld. Yes, Mr. Spock although he's product of the future, still deserves to be recognized in the present as one of TV coolest characters of all time. Although Spock's Vulcan heritage constantly denied his emotions, his human heart was always looking out for his crew member even to the time when like a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save a comrade, Spock entered the radioactively contaminated engine room to get the ship's engine back on line and out of harms way in the motion picture Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn. For his bravery under fire, the franchise's scriptwriters brought Spock back to life in the sequel Star Trek: Search for Spock. Now wasn't that cool of them to do that. After all, they couldn't let a cash cow like Star Trek lose one of its best characters, now could they?

No. 5. Kookie (77 Sunset Strip) - Now Kookie never had the chance to save the life a star ship crew like Spock, but he has the
inner moxy to rise to the occasion when his friends were in trouble namely, the detectives at the Spencer and Bailey Detective
Acency located at 77 Sunset Strip. Eventually, Kookie earned a junior partnership in the business. Kookie shows his partners that when push came to shove, he was tough as the next guy and had no problem being down the bad guys, However, what Kookie preferred to do was sit quietly, comb his hair and dispense phrases (known as Kookieism) like "The ginchiest" whihc means "The greatest." The guy had a hot rod, a way with the chicks and great hair. How cool is that!

No. 4 Alfred the Butler (Batman) - How often do you run across someone who can actually keep a secret. Meet, Alfred Pennyworth, the butler who lives in stately Wayne Manor. The secret he keeps is that his employer, millionaire Bruce Wayne, likes to, from time
to time, dons a bat outfit and cruise into Gotham city to battle the such notorious criminals as The Joker, The Riddler, The Penquin and Catwoman. And while Master Wayne is off duking it out with the dregs of the earth, Alfred maintains his cool by polishing the silver and keeping dust from accumulating in the Batcave, the subterranean headquarters of the Caped Crusader aka "The Dark Knight" On TV played Alfred. In the moves his role went to and currently

No. 3. Michael Parks (Along Came Bronson) - How cool is this guy. Riding along the highways and byways of America in a cool
Harley motorbike, no responsibilities, no care (mostly) and no deadline to get to where he is going. Like the guy in a car said
at the opening credits of this show "Man, I wish I were you" to which Bronson replied " Well, hang in there"  before he rumbled
off down the road and lived the fantasy life of many young males and I'm, sure women as well.

No. 2. Sheriff Andy Taylor (The Andy Griffith Show) - For a cop, he ain't bad. He's not a hard nose kind of guy, but rather an easy-going fellow who treats everyone he meets with respect and kindness. Yes,  Andy is a responsible type who and gets up each morning, goes to work, and helps the folks with his their problems. Andy's cool because he would rather talk his way through a tough situation rather that pull a gun. His peaceful demeanor earned him the nickname "The Sheriff without a Gun." But don't let the nickname fool you, if he needs to be tough he can be, but he'd just rather folks behave themselves and so he can go home at the end of the day, eat a nice dinner prepared by his Aunt Bee, play with his son Opie, and spend the evening on the porch, playing his guitar.

No. 1. Lincoln "Linc" Hayes (The Mod Squad) - From the first time I saw Linc Hayes (Clarence Williams III), I felt that he was the coolest guy who ever lived. He had it all down. The look, the shades, the easy going mannerism. Now, some of you will say, hey!, he was a convicted teenager arrested during the Watts Riot and then recruited by the cops to do undercover work as part of a probation agreement. Well, yeah he was, but that was one of his saving graces. Linc, like his two Flower Power partners with similar past, were looking for redemption. And to find it, they spent their time helping other redeem themselves from terrible situations. And, Man if that ain't cool, I don't know what is.
You can catch the vintage version of Clarence Williams III in the role of Philby, a retired CIA spook who now works in a bookstore on the Hallmark Channel series MYSTERY WOMAN. Clarence (a.k.a. "Linc"), you still are the "coolest" and "baddest" dude in town, in the country, on the planet, in the galaxy...can you dig it?


NOTE: This article may be linked for distribution to other Internet publications. Please credit the article to the author, Jerome A. Holst and mention its URL.

 

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