On Saturday afternoon, while I and a few dozen other folks were watching the Third Class Citizen screening of a short film by "Karn" Sivaroj Kongsakul about "Red Pants" comedian Narong Rattapon, a.k.a. Lung Krong Gangkeng Daeng (ลุงโกร่ง กางเกงแดง), it would be the last time we'd see the veteran funnyman.
In a chilling coincidence, the very next day, the news came out that Uncle Krong Red Pants was dead at age 83. His body was found in his home in Ban Yai, Nonthaburi, by a passing security guard, who was helping villagers deal with the floods.
In the short documentary, Krong is interviewed and he explains that he adopted the nickname after he made a movie – I think it was one of Baan Phee Pop horror-comedies – in which he climbed a tree to escape the ghost and his sarong caught on a branch, exposing his red underpants. Thereafter, he wore red trousers as his trademark.
Krong was from the same era of Thai cinema as the master comedian Lor Tok. According to a Nation story, among his films was the classic 1952 comedy Sam Kler (Three Friends), which starred Lor Tok, Sompong Pongmitr and Dokdin Kanyamarn.
With Krong's passing, it's Dokdin, aged 87, as the lone surviving funnyman.
In the short film, Krong estimates he acted in as many as 500 films – at least 300 for sure – but laments that he's not as well known as Mitr Chaibancha and other leading men of the era.
But don't take my word for it. You can actually watch the film I watched – somebody posted it to YouTube yesterday – and hopefully Karn will not mind if it's embedded below for everyone to see.