Remembering Harold Ramis: Looking back at “Caddyshack”

(Warner Brothers)
Rodney Dangerfield as Al Czervik in one of his more subdued outfits. (Warner Brothers)

Harold Ramis, who directed “Caddyshack” in 1980, died Monday at the age of 69 and it’s difficult not to think of what has to be one of the funniest sports movies of all time.

Ramis, who died of what the Chicago Tribune reports was “complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis,” wrote some of the other greatest comedies of the last 35 years, including “Animal House,” “Stripes,” “Groundhog Day,” and “Ghostbusters.” There’ll be arguments all night long about which is the best, but there’s no question that “Caddyshack” ranks among the funniest sports movies ever. For one thing, even if you don’t like golf, it’s ridiculously quotable. “We have a pool and a pond. Pond would be good for you.” “Be the ball, Danny.” “So I’ve got that going for me…which is nice.”

On the 30th anniversary of the movie’s release in 2010, Ramis, Bill Murray and Chevy Chase sat for a Sports Illustrated interview about the movie. From the interview:

Chase: I don’t know why it’s stuck around so long. It’s a funny movie, it had funny stars, it had Harold and great writing. All of that should be enough to make a movie memorable to a certain crowd. But I don’t think it’s about golf—it’s about class: snobs versus slobs. Is it the funniest sports movie ever? Maybe. I can’t imagine there was a Babe Ruth movie that was funnier.

Murray: Let me tell you a story. The first time I went to Augusta, I was skulking around with a hat pulled way down on my head, trying to be invisible. And I ended up right behind Jack Nicklaus and his son, who was caddying for him. They were standing on the 18th tee. And his son spots me and points at me. And I thought it was because they saw this strange guy with his hat pulled down. I thought they were going to call security. And just as I was about to run, the son says to his dad, in Carl’s voice, “I think it’s about a five-iron.” And I thought, Holy cow, that’s my joke!

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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