There is an odd thing about this German art collector who got himself into the news in 2013, and died recently here in May. Cornelius Gurlitt was around eighty when German customs agents stumbled across him on some train with a fair amount of cash....which alerted them to some suspicious status in life. You see....once they sat down days later and looked at his name....it's an odd thing. He's registered in Munich....but never has appeared to have earned a dime in his life, not listed in the phonebook (mostly because he has no phone), and never had a job in his life (meaning he's never never paid taxes).
So they came to his residence, and found the thirteen-hundred-odd paintings from the Nazi era.
Somewhere in an interview over the past year....Gurlitt came to admit a strange fact about his past. He hadn't watched any TV since 1963.
It's an odd year. He doesn't really go into detail or explain why 1963 came to be the last year that he ever viewed a TV program. In some ways, I wished he'd been tossed one more question and asked what drove him from German TV programming.
What happened in 1963? Kennedy is assassinated and the coverage of the funeral is broadcast on most all European state-run networks. One might guess that Gurlitt was heavily affected by this, but it's only an assumption.
But there's this other odd item which came up in the summer of 1963...."Dinner for One"....an 18-minute classic comedy piece was aired over West Germany. It was taken to be a national bit of humor and comedy....which Germans today will say it's absolute tradition on 31 December of each year to view it at least once.
Is it possible that Gurlitt sat there and watched "Dinner for One" and felt this was the climax of TV entertainment....that nothing could beat it? Oh, perhaps....did he see this as the pit of TV entertainment and showed the moral decay of society....refusing to never watch public TV ever again?
It's an odd situation. An old guy admits he hasn't seen TV for over fifty years, but the journalist doesn't seem to ask why.
Gurlitt in my humble opinion....is a guy who deserves a five-star movie over his briefly noted career. A guy who went through almost eighty years and never noticed by anyone....then only by some dumb luck....having a customs guy ask a few stupid questions and demand to examine his personal belongings on a train crossing into Germany....it's noted that he's got cash....more than what he ought to have. He's got no phone number. He's noted to never have worked a day in his life. And so begins a brief period of being recognized.....mostly for his art collection, which the Berlin authorities now admit....was actually his property (peeving the Bavarian state art guys greatly).