I was sad to hear that singer Andy Williams died today of cancer at age 84. With "The Andy Williams Show" on NBC-TV and his many Christmas specials, he was a real staple of my childhood. His kind, handsome face, sweet, smooth voice, and positive spirit was something of a comfort to my small self in the midst of the confusing turbulence that was the 1960s and early 1970s. He was one of my favorites of the crooners that either had a show or appeared frequently on the multiple variety shows of the time: Perry Como was too mellow, Frank Sinatra too scary, Dean Martin too pseudo-drunk, Steve Lawrence too annoying, Pat Boone too Christian, Johnny Mathis too weird, Bing Crosby too ancient, and Vic Damone and Jack Jones too generic. Andy Williams seemed like a really nice man, someone who bridged the gap a little between my generally not-too-hip WWII-era parents and my own Lil' Mod Generation.

I thought today in his honor I would share a few video clips from "The Andy Williams Show," with some things you would expect and maybe some you wouldn't. That was the thing about the variety shows -- everyone sort of mashed up all together for an hour trying to please both Lil' Mod and Grandma Bloomerpants, and Williams was particularly good at making anyone and everyone, including viewers, feel welcomed.

Andy's show may be known best for featuring the Osmond Brothers very early in their career, even pre-Donny, when they were a barbershop quartet. Here's Donny's debut at age five, making it a barbershop quintet. Yes, they sound like the Barbershop Chipmunks, but that's some damn tight singin' work, I tell ya.

The Osmond Brothers, "Yes Sir That's My Baby," The Andy Williams Show

Williams was famous for his version of the romantic ballad, "Moon River," but this was my favorite Andy song. I have it on 45! I think it has a dark orange label with bold black printing. You can check.

Andy Williams, "Can't Get Used To Losing You," The Andy Williams Show

"The Andy Williams Show" featured "The Cookie Bear," who pre-dated the Cookie Monster. You have to appreciate the comic surrealism of a man in a black bear suit chatting and singing with the operatic Kate Smith.

Kate Smith and The Cookie Bear, The Andy Williams Show

Williams' wife at the time was the gorgeous French dancer, Claudine Longet. Their family, including their own three kids, were always seen on the Christmas specials, and we watched them grow up. This Christmas clip is from 1974, notable for the appearance of Williams' twin nephews Andy and David, achingly-adorable blonde teen idols. It is a little sad to now know that Williams and Longet had been estranged for years by this time, and they divorced a year later. A year after that in 1976, Longet was arrested for shooting and killing her boyfriend, and Williams was steadfast in her defense and support. Williams remarried in 1991.

"The World Is A Circle," The Andy Williams Christmas Show, 1974

Let's end with a clip from the year I was born, with another favorite of mine: Sammy Davis, Jr. RIP, Andy, and thank you.

Sammy Davis, Jr. & Andy Williams, "Breezin' Along With The Breeze," The Andy Williams Show