Posts Tagged ‘bill dana’
I was handed a message one day as I walked into the comedy club in Waikiki. Some guy named Bill Dana called. It was a Hawaii number, 808-248-Something.
248? Never heard of 248. I looked it up. Maui. Hana, Maui. Someone’s calling me from Hana? Hana, the hotbed of Hawaii evening entertainment. How mysterious. Enthusiastically, I dial soon enough am speaking with “some guy named Bill Dana.”
Only I quickly discovered that Bill Dana is anything but “some guy.” When he reminded me that he was better known for one of his comedic characters, “Jose Jiménez,” a chill went up my spine.
For those of you under the age of 50, let me put this into context. Bill Dana and his alter ego Jose Jiménez are legend. The Ed Sullivan Show. The Bill Dana Show on NBC, 1963-1965 (these were the days before 970 channels from which to choose).
Bill was even better known for his writing. He wrote stand-up for comedian Don Adams, including his famous “Would you believe” routine which went on to icon status in the TV program Get Smart, and wrote the 1980 Get Smart movie, The Nude Bomb. He played Sophia’s brother Angelo on The Golden Girls. His most famous work, however, was the script he penned for the best known episode of the hit sitcom All in the Family, entitled “Sammy’s Visit,” which arranged an encounter between Sammy Davis Jr. and Archie Bunker. (See above clip, 17:30 mark: “Sammy, your being colored, I know you had no choice in that. But whatever made you turn Jew?”)
I’m on the phone with Jose Jiménez. I can’t believe I’m on the phone with Jose Jiménez!
Bill was interested in doing some sort of show in Honolulu and was recommended to me by a few mutual friends in Los Angeles. The show never panned out but the memory of taking a call from Bill Dana… Jose Jiménez – that was forever.