Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Captain Chaos Is No More

Driving into work this morning, I heard the sad news that Dom DeLuise
has died. SF fans will remember him best as the wannabe superhero
Captain Chaos in the Cannonball Run movies (we shall not speak of the
brief career HIM had as Captain USA), Pizza The Hutt in Spaceballs,
and (please correct me if I'm wrong) Cupid in an episode of Steven
Spielberg's Amazing Stories
.


DeLuise always had an exuberance about him, a fun gleam in his eye
that made me smile while watching whatever picture he was in.


My favourite role of his will always be Captain Chaos. As much as we
may look at The Watchmen these days and say that comic put the
superhero genre to bed, I tend to think that in a gentle way, The
Cannonball Run
beat it to the punch. In his own way, Chaos illustrated
the true nature of the costumed crimefighter: brave, yes; somewhat
flamboyant, yes; and definitely crazy. To his friends, mild-mannered
rotund mechanic Victor Prinzi took the whole split personality
vigilante thing annoyingly too far, but the Captain always did the
right thing in spectacular fashion - whether it was saving two pretty
ladies from some bikers, driving with exceptional speed and skill to
almost win the race, or saving a lady's "baby" (dog) from drowning.
And in the end, everyone, including audiences, loved him for it. In
his own silly way, Captain Chaos inspired us to be the best in
ourselves. And we ought to be thankful that Dom DeLuise was around to
give HIM life, because I don't know of any other actor that could have
pulled the role off with the flair, mischevous zest, good nature, and
sheer over-the-top camp that Dom did.


Dom DeLuise died at the age of 75.


Rest in peace, Captain Chaos.

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