Remembering Harold Ramis & Caddyshack's Influence

As Harold Ramis's passing sinks in, his place in filmmaking comedy has only begun to be appreciated even though we golfers know what a stroke of genius it took to make something of the the mess that was the Caddyshack concept and filming.

The New York Times obituary calls Ramis an "alchemist of comedy in a lovely remembrance constructed by Douglas Martin.

The Chicago Tribune's Mark Caro, who broke the sad news of Ramis's passing, reviewed his oeuvre and noted this about Caddyshack: "this madcap golf comedy didn't get the greatest reviews or make the biggest splash upon its release, but its reputation ballooned over the years. Ranked No. 2 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" and No. 71 on "100 Years…100 Laughs." B.O.: $40 million."

Tad Friend remembers Ramis for the New Yorker's Culture Desk blog and kindly links to his outstanding 2004 profile of Ramis that all can read. Under the guise of how "Harold Ramis’s movies have stayed funny for twenty-five years," Friend centers the start of his story around Caddyshack.

Friend wrote:

These comedies have several things in common. They attack the smugness of institutional life, trashing the fraternity system, country clubs, the Army—even local weathermen—with an impish good will that is unmistakably American. Will Rogers would have made films like these, if Will Rogers had lived through Vietnam and Watergate and decided that the only logical course of action was getting wasted or getting laid or—better—both.

I penned a short tribute to Ramis for's Local Knowledge blog, noting that Ramis was not a golfer and that only speaks to his ability as a director and comedian.

Erik Malinowski notes Ramis's influence on comedy and sports movies, calling his career "monumental.

None of this happens without Ramis, who kickstarted a monumental career in Hollywood by putting all his initial energies and creativity into "Caddyshack," a truly original film that has not seen its equal since.

And in the sense that the film never tried to be greater than that particular and specific batch of elements, this endlessly quotable work of cinema became a legend in time, consistently voted as one of the funniest and all-around best sports movies ever conceived.