Sam The Butcher and Moose The Yankee
My uncle, Allan Melvin, recently passed away from cancer at the age of 84. To generations of TV viewers, he was known as Sam the Butcher, Barney on Archie Bunker’s Place, Corporal Henshaw on the Phil Silvers Show, and the voice of Magilla Gorilla. He also appeared in some of the Andy Griffith episodes, in Gomer Pyle, USMC, and starred in Liquid Plumber commercials. He appeared in one movie, “With Six You Get Eggroll” starring Doris Day.
To me he was Uncle Allan, a good man and a funny guy. I have fond memories of vacations on the Jersey Shore with Uncle Allan and his wife of 64 years, Aunt Amalia. It was fun growing up having a celebrity uncle. Later the Melvins moved to southern California, but every summer my parents and aunt would visit them in Michigan.
Cleaning out my desk earlier this week, I came across an old postcard with a black and white photo of Allan Melvin as Cpl, Henshaw from the 1950s. It is signed simply: “To Rickey, Moose Skowron of White Plains. Best Wishes, Uncle Allan.”
Bill “Moose Skowron” was my favorite Yankee growing up. I saw the Moose hit a home run for the only Yankee run in the first major league baseball game I ever attended, a 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox in 1958 at the original Yankee Stadium. A first baseman, Moose won four World Series rings with the Yankees. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1963, where he won another ring, this one against the Yankees. Showing his true colors, Moose got rid of the Dodger ring. He still holds the record — with Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle — for most home runs by three teammates, 143, in a single season, 1961.