Our own Rock Riddle was shown on footage this morning near the start of the ABC morning news show Good Morning America. Rock appeared as part of a tribute salute to the late, great comedic acting legend Fred Willard who just passed away.
Rock was shown in a mid 70's clip in full gimmick, standing over Fernwood Tonight's hosts Martin Mull and Fred Willard in character, jawing at them in his trademark robe and Devo- dark giant sunglasses. All in character of course.
Fernwood Tonight(occasionally spelled 2Nite) was the affiliated spinoff worked talk show spun off the soap opera comedy spoof Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman starring Louise Lasser as the lead. Rock had several appearances as his pro wrestling character on Fernwood but also an even greater number of roles on Chuck Barris and NBC's The Gong Show seventies classic weekday and nighttime spoof of game shows.
Rock also appeared on The Soupy Sales Show revival syndicated by Los Angeles KTLA channel 5 plus many others before he formed his Hollywood Success company to help fellow wrestlers and more achieve acting success and career fulfillment on many levels. But on Fernwood, Rock was around a wealth of future sketch artist legends like actor/director Mary Kay Place, Orson Bean who recently passed, Doris Roberts, Dabney Coleman, Greg Mullavey, Graham Jaravis(who was the very first Rocky Horror Picture Show narrator/dancer when the play debuted first in London, New York and Los Angeles at the Roxy Theatre. Norman Lear created both TV Emmy-award-winning and twisted shows MH, MH and Fernwood as well as most all the top sitcoms of the era from All In The Family, Sanford and Son, Good Times, Maude, One Day At A Time and many others and told me last year in an interview he loved pro wrestling dating back to his "New York days of watching Argentina Rocca battle Buddy Rogers," and thought Riddle was a scream, legitimately screaming at the always bemused Willard character.
I just contacted Rock to let him know. ABC has the salute on their global website and his appearance also was part of Fred Willard tributes on other local news affiliates like KTTV/Fox Channel 11 in Southern California. Tribute quotes to Willard ran right after Rock's clip was shown, from actors Ben Stiller, Christina Applegate, Steve Carrell and others.