Gary David Goldberg just died of brain cancer at age 68. That name may not immediately ring any bells, but you’ve almost certainly watched TV shows he produced or seen movies he directed. For starters, Goldberg was the founder of Ubu Productions, and if you watched TV in the 1980s, you definitely remember hearing “Sit, Ubu, sit! Good dog.” at the end of shows while a picture of a black dog holding a frisbee was up on the screen. That was Goldberg’s dog, Ubu, with whom he traveled the world before becoming a TV maker.
The Brooklyn-born, Emmy-winning Goldberg wrote for programs like The Tony Randall Show and The Bob Newhart Show prior to creating Family Ties in 1982. That show is best known for making Michael J. Fox famous, but it was a great show in its own right as part of NBC’s amazing “Must See TV” Thursday-night lineup that was rounded out by The Cosby Show, Cheers, and Night Court. (Goldberg also created Spin City, but we never really watched that much, so we’re ignoring it!) Family Ties dealt with several heavy issues in “very-special episodes,” including death, drugs, and the difficulties of living with ex-hippie parents as a young Republican. But our favorite scene is the one above, featuring Tom Hanks as the memorable Uncle Ned. Memorable, because in addition to being a good-time type guy who looked remarkably like a young Forrest Gump, Ned was a drunken, down-on-his-luck businessman who dropped by the Keaton household now and then to chug vanilla extract and sissy-punch his nephew, Alex. Enjoy!