Tag Archive | "Father Guido Sarducci"

J-Day: May 21, 2011

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In spite of all the hoopla about a government shutdown, the need to balance the budget, Presidential birth certificates, and who shot Osama Bin Ladin, both the media and the White House have been eerily silent about J-Day.


The only hint I have seen of this prophesied event of the Second Coming of Jesus, to render judgment upon the world, has been in articles posted on writeonnewjersey.com, articles that have created a firestorm of controversy. Otherwise, the silence is deafening.  It boggles my mind that no one else is interested in this literally Earth-shattering prediction.  If it does come to pass and Jesus pulls the plug on us, there will be no need to worry about paying back our debts to the Chinese or even the banks underwriting our credit cards. You know, it almost sounds like heaven!


According to the sagacious Father Guido Sarducci, when the end comes you will have to pay for your sins.  At the final judgment, we will each receive an endowment of $15,000 dollars to pay for our sins.  Not much of an endowment, I’ll admit, but Father Sarducci preached to the faithful decades ago, before Chevy Chase was forced to make those awful “vacation” movies and before rampant inflation besieged us all.


The good Father also explained that each sin will be assigned a monetary value.  Small sins, such as self-gratification, or what the Church would call self-abuse, can cost a mere 35 cents. But depending upon how often you indulge yourself, that 35 cents can add up exponentially, running into hundreds if not thousands of dollars.  More serious sins, such as stealing or adultery, carry a heftier price.  And the ultimate sin — murder — can run into the millions.  So, you see, that $15,000 will not cover much if you have lived a wicked life.


What, then, will befall, the truly wicked if they cannot pay the piper?  Will they end up impaled or have strawberries growing out of their nether-regions, as do the pitifully damned in the paintings of Bosch?  Will they be forced to watch re-runs of “Charles in Charge?”  Will they be compelled to listen to Lindsay Lohan’s album, or worse, her incessant excuses to the judge?   Quake now with fear, for the answer is “No!”  The punishment will be far worse than you may imagine.


According to Father Sarducci, if you should run out of money, you will be sent back to Earth in order to increase your income (and in this economy, that sounds like hell to me).  However, you will not be returned as the same person you were when you quit this earth.  Wicked people return as nuns, sewer workers, or (shudder!) Star Jones.


Of course, if God turns out to be related to Charles Darwin, the Second Coming would herald a return to nature.  We could swing blithely through the trees in the canopy, gorging ourselves on fruits and veggies and crying, “Brad Pitt!” or “Angelina!” rather than “Tarzan!” or “Jane!” and alternately calling for Chunky Monkey ice cream and hot fudge sauce to go with all of those bananas.  In light of the economy, this might even be a step up for some, but certainly, not the end of the world.


So why isn’t the good news of our imminent demise being spread?  Is Big Oil or Wall Street trying to cash in before the s**t hits the fan?  Or is J-Day but a myth conjured up by certain religious leaders of the world in the hope of scaring their followers into donating their wealth as repentance?


Only time will tell, and we’re running out of time.  Forewarned, as they say, is forearmed.  On the 20th of May, if the White House or the news media interrupts your TV viewing with a special announcement before midnight, you can put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye! 


Father Guido Sarducci: From God’s Lips to Your Ears

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A prolific and diverse talent whose contributions span comic, actor, author, screenwriter, director, and producer, Don Novello is probably best known for his alter ego, Father Guido Sarducci.


He was born on New Year’s Day 1943, in Lorain, Ohio, to Eileen (nee Finnerty) and Dr. Augustine J. Novello.  As a hybrid of two races renowned for their love of merry-making, Don seemed predisposed to a life as an entertainer.


Upon graduating the University of Dayton, he invented the character that catapulted him to fame.  At a St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop, Don purchased a monsignor’s outfit for $7.50: the wisest investment that the Ohio native ever made.  With the addition of a pair of sunglasses, a mustache, a cigarette, and a thick Italian accent, Father Guido Sarducci, the satirical Catholic priest, was born.  The “good father” first took the stage as a stand up comic in a popular San Francisco nightclub.  Later, he appeared on San Francisco’s TV Channel 20’s Chicken Little Comedy Show, where he caught the attention of successful comic David Steinberg.


After signing Don as a writer, Steinberg introduced him to Tommy and Dick Smothers.  The Smothers Brothers were the well-loved “oil and water” comedy duo of the 1970’s; to appear on their program was quite a coupe.  In 1975, Don realized that accomplishment in the persona of Father Sarducci.  From 1977 to 1980, he was a semi-regular on the irreverent cultural phenomenon known as Saturday Night Live.  Don also made a number of guest appearances on other television shows.


Concurrent with his fame in the ’70’s, Don adopted a nom de plume, under which he’d penned correspondence to celebrities and politicians.  As Lazlo Toth (the name of the real-life psycho who’d vandalized the Pieta in Rome), Don needled his recipients by misstating facts and dropping inside jokes.  Some of the jokes were taken seriously, engendering responses with humorous results.  Don Novello later compiled these letters in three books that achieved publication: The Lazlo Letters, Citizen Lazlo, and From Bush to Bush: The Lazlo Toth Letters.


Don went on to produce SCTV.  Patterned upon Saturday Night Live, this ’80’s show showcased the talents of comic actors Martin Short, the late, great John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, and Catherine O’Hara.  During the same decade, Don parodied the Richard Harris hit single, “MacArthur Park” with “I Won’t Be Twisting This Christmas”/”Parco MacArthur.” Don is credited with the lead vocals on this Warner Brothers release.


In 1981, he discovered that the Vatican did not appreciate his humor.  Disguised as Father Sarducci, Don and his accomplice, a magazine photographer, gained access to prohibited areas of The Holy City.  They compounded this transgression by shooting photos of sights verboten to outsiders.  Although the Swiss Guard arrested the mischief-makers, they dropped the charges.  They never, however, confiscated the film!


In 1984, Don scripted The Blade, a send-up of high school yearbooks in which he portrayed students as sheep.  Although Noble Rot never made it to the silver screen, Novello had collaborated with fellow Saturday Night Live alum John Belushi in creating that script.  Don also narrated Fairy Tale Theater’s third season, Pinocchio.


Don’s career took a more serious turn in 2001, when he was chosen to play Dominic Abbandando in The Godfather, Part III.  A speaking role, this opportunity gave the comic/writer/producer some face time in the film, including an appearance in the final scene on the steps of the Rome Opera House.  This solemn bent, however, did not last long.  The same year, Don lent his voice to Disney’s animated film Atlantis: The Lost Empire, as the character of Vincenzo “Vinny” Santorini.  In the film’s sequel, Atlantis: Milo’s Return, he reprised the character.


Many of us who were raised in the Catholic faith revere and fear men of the cloth.  After all, we enter darkened confessionals to spill our sins to them and receive penance!  Don Novello did the opposite.  By gently satirizing the people we had put on pedestals, he gave the world the gift of laughter, including a new generation of funny men and funny women. 

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