In the light of the recent deaths of Davy Jones and Richard Dawson---two actors I adore as much as I adore Simon---my thoughts have admittedly been elsewhere as of late. But they still, nevertheless, come back to Simon while bringing these new thoughts with them. Among those thoughts is the disappointment that while Davy and Richard did have a chance to work with each other, they didn’t have a chance to work with Simon.
I have been wondering lately about what a collaboration between Simon and Davy or Simon and Richard would’ve been like. The most likely possibility would’ve been Simon making a guest appearance on The Monkees and Hogan’s Heroes---two shows that did air around the time that Simon made multiple guest appearances on several shows. The thing is, however, that the shows in question are both comedies. Simon has proven himself to be quite the comedic actor, but as I mentioned in an earlier entry, Simon’s brand of humor was a wonderful, understated kind of humor that is rarely seen. Would his brand of humor even fit?
I think, for Hogan’s Heroes, the answer is yes. Understated humor fits very well into the show; Ivan Dixon, who played the role of Kinch (and had worked with Simon more than once) was often one of the sources of it. Simon could’ve easily played a transient officer trying to get some secret in and out of Stalag 13. There would’ve been plenty of opportunities for Simon’s understated brand of humor, whether rolling his eyes at the antics of Newkirk, LeBeau, and Carter, or making a few deadpan cracks at the heavy flow of traffic in and out of the tunnels beneath the stalag.
For The Monkees, however… well, it’s a long shot. Understated humor isn’t exactly the show’s credo; the show ran on utter madcap nonsense---quite a contrast to Simon’s brand of humor. And yet, I have every bit of confidence that Simon would’ve made it work somehow. If he had been on The Monkees, I imagine that Simon would’ve played the ultimate straight man opposite the Monkees---vainly trying to keep some semblance of sanity as the four crazy musicians turned everything upside-down.
Even though neither of these collaborations came to pass, I can still vividly picture what they would be like. That is the mark of Simon’s prowess as an actor---that it is possible to picture how he would handle and take on a role. And there’s also the knowledge that he would’ve succeeded, no matter what the role or situation. There’ll only ever be one Simon Oakland---just like there’ll only ever be one Davy Jones or one Richard Dawson. But one of each of them is all we really need when each of their talents were meant to be one-of-a-kind.