Tonight’s Harbourfront Free Flicks screening arrives under a bit of a cloud: Yeah, Meatballs is still a beloved ’70s summer-camp comedy with a breakout Bill Murray performance, but it’ll play differently for a Toronto audience after the passing of Harvey Atkin.
Atkin — who played camp owner and genial punching bag Morty — had a long and varied career as an exasperated authority figure, turning up in everything from Cagney & Lacey to Barney’s Version over the decades. And his honking voiceover defined Toronto furniture clearing house Leon’s in hundreds of TV spots, which likely made him more money over the years than any of his acting gigs. It was always nice to see him pop up in a thing, and he’ll be missed.
Anyway, the movie’s still funny and Morty isn’t so prominent in the narrative that Atkins’ screen presence will grow melancholy. Come on down and raise a glass of bug juice to his memory with me. We’re starting around 8:45 pm.