For­mer TV pop cul­ture sen­sa­tion “Su­per Hippy” re­veals wacky col­lec­tion in Thorn­hill man­sion

Thornhill Post - - The 905 - — Jen­nifer Cheng

Mitch Markowitz, co-cre­ator of the Hamil­ton chil­dren’s TV show The Hi­lar­i­ous House of Fright­en­stein, has a cult fol­low­ing for play­ing Su­per Hippy on the show dur­ing its run in the early 1970s — one of the big­gest suc­cess sto­ries in Canadian TV pop cul­ture his­tory. In­ter­est­ingly, Markowitz has been amass­ing pop cul­ture, mostly from the ’60s, in his own home.

“It’s a healthy ob­ses­sion,” his wife, Robin Bralow, now says, adding that he has a designer’s eye for un­usual pieces. “On the sur­face, you can’t see how some­thing works, but he trans­forms things.”

Their 7,500-square-foot, three-level home in Thorn­hill has a Bea­tles Hall of Fame; a wall in his of­fice for a smok­ing pipe col­lec­tion, fea­tur­ing Or­son Welles’ pipe in Cit­i­zen Kane; and a room with a vend­ing ma­chine col­lec­tion (think cigars, Kleenex, beef jerky, Pez, even jokes — clean and dirty).

“I don’t ac­quire things just to put them away in a card­board box,” says Markowitz.

Most ex­cit­ing item for him: a New York del­i­catessen menu signed by James Brown. Most tit­il­lat­ing item for him: El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor’s sil­ver gloves. “His me­mora­bilia is very touch­ing, says his wife, who is also the CEO of Lym­phoma Canada. “But it’s not the kind of house where you can’t touch any­thing.”

He has a lower-level foyer, which he named the Markowitz Hol­ly­wood North Mu­seum, in 2009. “I just thought it was a nice, for­mal way to dis­play my col­lec­tion. I like to share it with guests and friends.”

“Mitch is not do­ing it to be a showy per­son,” says his close friend of seven years, Jerry Levitan, who, at 14, in­ter­viewed John Len­non. “He col­lects items in a theme that touches his life or oth­ers.”

On dis­play: Judy Gar­land’s sling­backs, Mae West’s navy blue dress, Johnny Car­son’s sports jacket, Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe’s cash­mere cardi­gan and Dick Clark’s sweater from Amer­i­can Band­stand.

“It’s not of­ten that we can put our­selves in a time ma­chine and do it all over again,” Markowitz says. Af­ter all, you would be hard-pressed to find a vend­ing ma­chine that dis­penses naughty jokes to­day.

L–R: Mitch Markowitz out­side his Thorn­hill home; his smok­ing pipe col­lec­tion; hand-carved wooden jack­ets

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.