I am entirely unashamed to call myself a child of the 80’s. In the late 80’s to early 90’s there was nothing quite as exciting, thoroughly engrossing and unabashedly capitalist than Nintendo. The games were great enough in and of themselves, but there was also magazines, hotlines, freaking cereal (anybody fondly remember the “Nintendo Cereal System”?) and perhaps best of all, an extremely nostalgic animated series on Saturday mornings.
Videogames were essentially uncharted territory where the latest and greatest advances were not only cool they were amazing. Remember parallax scrolling? CGA to VGA graphics? Polygons?!? That amazing 8-bit music? The first time you beat Contra? The first time you beat Contra without the Konami code? Call it fond memories, but I think that is something that current gen gaming is missing. We have seen it all at this point, it’s more difficult to appreciate a jump from PS3 to PSOne quite so much as the NES to SNES to N64 to Gamecube evolution.
So at this point, you’re probably wondering… Who the hell is DANNY WELLS and what does he have to do with the 80’s Nintendo culture? DANNY WELLS (real name Jack Westelman) was none other than Luigi from the SUPER MARIO BROTHERS SUPER SHOW. Go ahead, recite the entire “Do the Mario” rap from the intro montage… I still can too. Preceded to the afterlife by his partner in plumb LOU ALBANO, they can now stomp koopas and eat bowls of pasta into eternity.
Want to hear something strange? 2013 was dubbed “The Year of Luigi” by Nintendo seeing as it is the 30th anniversary of Luigi appearing in a videogame. It’s some sort of irony that DANNY WELLS passed away at the end of The Year of Luigi.
Don’t forget he was also Charlie in THE JEFFERSONS and played parts in THE A-TEAM, SMALL WONDER and many other classic 70’s and 80’s series.
He might have had a long career in film, but he will always be Luigi to me. Rest in peace, DANNY WELLS. You made my childhood a little bit brighter with everything you did.