Actor Harry Anderson, famous for playing the quirky judge Harry Stone on Night Court passed away Monday at the age of 65.

NIght Court was an NBC TV comedy mainstay from 1984-92 and was always one of my favorites. So, what else did Harry Anderson do and why was he in Missoula? Well, he also had a comedy routine that featured some magic on the side.

A good friend of mine in the entertainment biz back in the mid-1980s booked Harry Anderson to play the Wilma Theater. I had tickets to the show and was looking forward to seeing him perform, but beyond that, no expectations of meet-and-greet. Until my friend calls me and asks me if I have a stool he could borrow.

"What kind of stool?"

"Just a shorter wooden stool, preferably with a pad on it. Maybe just a few feet high. Real basic like you'd have at a kitchen counter. Harry Anderson needs it for his act."

"You're telling me the Wilma doesn't have a stool?"

"We can't find one."

"Okay. Yeah I got one. What do you want me to do with it?"

"Just let me know when you'll be here and I'll wait at the side door and let you in backstage."

So, at the agreed-upon time I showed up at the Wilma, feeling a little goofy with my wooden stool in tow. My friend let me in and that's how I met the appreciative Harry Anderson and how my stool became famous!   :-)

I don't remember a lot about the show, beyond him being pretty low key, a bit eclectic and extremely relaxed, comfortable in his subtle style of humor.

I have no idea whatever became of that stool, but I will honor Judge Stone by tracking down some Night Court episodes on one of the nostalgia TV channels. Here's to ya, Harry!




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