Sherwood Charles Schwartz (November 14, 1916 – July 12, 2011) died peacefully in his sleep a few days ago, survived by a wife of sixty-nine years and four children.
I did not know the man and wouldn't even have recognized him if I passed him on the street. Still, through his work in American television, Mr. Schwartz made an impact the size of Crater Lake on popular culture.
Love them or hate them, he's the man who created the television series Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch. The two series went on to spin-off music, cartoon series, other television series, TV movies, feature films and who knows how many trivia questions and other pop culture references. By no means will I ever tout the two simplistic sitcoms as approaching anywhere near the pinnacle of TV production achievements, but there can be no argument that they've left their marks.
Those two simple sitcoms will probably be the best known portions of Schwartz's legacy. I have no idea how he felt about the shows, but I'd like to think that he was always able to hold his head up and enjoy his accomplishment. A lot of creators don't live long enough to see their works appreciated. Some who do don't enjoy them even then. Strange as it may seem to some, Tschaikovsky hated "The Nutcracker Suite", but it has been his most popular composition.
Sherwood Schwartz won't be remembered for bringing us fine art, but he did bring us entertainment. We can't deny being entertained because a lot of people kept watching no matter how many others badmouthed the shows or were indifferent to them. His best known works might not be well-respected, but he entertained us and he avoided the tabloid scandal nonsense that seemed to become quite common in the years following his work.
Mr. Schwartz can at least be well-remembered for that.