|Joe, Andy and Bill, July 2016|
About a week ago, we were in the midst of an exceptionally fun time in Minerva, Ohio, as Minerva Monster Day was getting rolling. I happened to check Facebook on my phone while at the Roxy Theater in Minerva and was completely stunned to discover that Joe Ziegler, who portrayed Lou Costello in The Ultimate Abbott and Costello Tribute Show, had suddenly died.
We became acquainted with Joe and Bill Riley (pictured above) through their appearances at Monster Bash, the classic monster movie convention that takes place near Mars, PA. After our first time seeing them, I exchanged emails with Joe, and arranged to record an episode of Monsterland Ohio Radio with them the next time we were together. I am extremely glad we did; our recording now stands as a document of an amazing partnership and preserves the special chemistry that Joe had with Bill--and everyone else he pulled into his orbit.
The one thing I will remember most about Joe is the special attention he paid to Andy while we were at Bash. He was very giving with his time, and the two enjoyed some great conversations. I'm fairly sure that Joe was impressed with Andy's knowledge of Abbott and Costello's movies and routines, but beyond that he was genuinely interested in Andy as a person. As online tributes began to post, it became clear that Joe had a knack for making a lot of people feel good, in a way that went far beyond just making them laugh.
Simply put, Joe Ziegler was a joy to know. We have met so many wonderful people through our various fandoms and interests, and Joe is right there at the top of the list. He may have been well known for portraying a classic movie comedian, but to us, Joe was a star in his own right.