Charles Nelson Reilly was born on January 13th, 1931, in The Bronx, New York, and would have been 81 years old today (he passed in 2007). For many people in my generation, he was a fixture of the daytime game shows, eliciting laughs with his over-the-top persona, and on “
H.R. Pufnstuf” Lidsville (thanks to reader David Simmons for pointing out my Kroftastic error there). For our children’s generation, he was the voice of the “Dirty Bubble,” a recurring super-villain character on Spongebob Squarepants. But beyond those, he was also a Tony award-winning Broadway actor who piled up significant credits in the 1960s in such classics as “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “Hello Dolly!” He also taught acting at his own school, and with Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof.
It is only fitting, then, that he has been immortalized by geek rock-star “Weird Al Yankovic” in a song and video that properly recognizes him as the towering talent he was. Happy Birthday, CNR, we miss you!