Transcript:

Bill Daily: And I'm slow, I'm not that bright, I'm dyslexic and I need a lot of rehearsal. And Larry would rehearse like hundreds of times would. When you went in, you knew where you go, Bob, is you. And we would rehearse. We'd go on a tenant leave at 11:00. And it was like, oh,.

Interviewer: Why do think he didnt like to rehearse?

Bill Daily: It worked best for him. It was fresher fresher. And he's a comic genius. So he can do it. And it says he's a star so they can do whatever he wants to do.

Interviewer: So standup comic. The no rehearsal thing?

Bill Daily: Yeah, I think that when he worked Las Vegas a lot. He works a lot and he's very bright and very quick and it works, but he's not a physical comic. So when Larry was. But. But it was tough for me because I'm just slow and just walk out there with no rehearsal. And just that tower, that Howard character that was I was really frightened. I mean, that was just awful. And Larry Hagman, boy, I mean, when you went on, you know what you're doing. You know, you'd do it 30 or 40 times. So. But Bob is the best, brilliant, nicest man I have worked with my life. It's just if it was if I was doing the show, he would quit because I had be rehearsing. In fact, I did the show one time about when Bob was at Bob. I did all the short only work when he doesn't show. I'm waiting for does gonna call dad next when it comes out. But I think it was The Newhart Show. I've done all of his shows and I came off the road doing a play and I walked. I got an idea. You come down the stairs. You walk up here and you throw the pie and you fall down. And everybody was just paralyzed, just like a painting, everybody. And I looked around, whoa, just calm down. And we just did the same. He's dead. He was sitting where you are. I'm here. We just because that's not his bag. I mean. But I think what am I do. And then I came off to the theater. So you're OK. Hi, Bob. We'll move here. But what what a human being? What a dear friend I was with him last night.

Interviewer: So tell me. Let's go back to when you first met him. You could tell me this is me what year it was.

Bill Daily: I don't remember what the year was because of I think it may have been. He was awfully young. I don't remember. But I was at NBC. I was associate director. I don't even remember that. Yes, I think I was. But it was at a Halloween party. And it was dumb, like somebody had to have white or why insured and somebody had a cowboy. Nobody really worked at anything. Somebody was dressed as a girl. And he came in a door dressed as Leonardo da Vinci. And under his arms, he had the painting of the Mona Lisa. And half of it was by the numbers. I said, this guy is a genius. I mean, that was the blew me away. I mean, carrying model this. It was nine, seven and four and it was done. So from then on, I know I said, boy, this guy is you know, he's briliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Interviewer: Did you talk to him that night?

Bill Daily: Not much. Not much. I just wanted to know who he was because. Wow. And then he just hung around. He was an accountant at that time. He would just hang around with the writer Dan Sorkin. He had a radio show. He had do some things with him. I think he did center with on ABC. I think he did a few things with the with a friend of mine. But it just little sketches here or there. And I don't think he really had his act together. What do you have an act.

Interviewer: So, you knew that he was aspiring comic.

Bill Daily: I don't think he was. I think all he wanted to do is have a nice job and play golf. I know he needs spaghetti. It was or something. I don't think. Because he's not into that. No, I don't think he wanted to be. I don't know about that. But he was just a relaxed, quiet guy. You know, I love to talk especially about me know. And he's quiet. That's why I like Don Rickles. But he I don't know if he really wanted to be a star, just he would just that the night that he did did the show that made him was just a different piece of material, was so brilliant. And everybody was there, you know, I mean, the head of Paramount that they cited I mean, everybody tweet Hogan had manager. I mean, the whole night was just incredible piece of material. Was he did Abraham Lincoln's press agent. Wow. And it just blew everybody away, you know. And from then on, he.

Interviewer: So let's talk about a little bit, if you can describe it a little bit. Set the scene over what what your job was then. But it was a local Emmy show and you asked him.

Bill Daily: Yeah, well, that time we were doing a local Emmy show.

Interviewer: Use his name. Say Bob.

Bill Daily: OK, we're doing. Bob was we're doing a local show, and this was the time I was associate director. This was the time for me to make it big. And I had some really great material. And Dave Barnett is a brilliant director, rewrote the whole show. And it was local Emmy show. And I had five pieces of material I was going to do and very much like Newhart. Just I've never met him. I didn't know what kind of work he did. But we have the same guy on the phone. It was the same Midwestern guy from Chicago and the son. I really had good stuff. And I knew that because everybody was going to be there. And just three days before we did the show, the the the cameramen went on strike. We couldn't do the show. We canceled that. We didn't know what to do. There goes my bets. There goes. Build it. It's over for me. So we asked Newhart because he did a couple of things. Can you write a bob to write of something? You know, like that night he said, well, I'll put something together. And he wrote that Abraham Lincoln's press agent. And that was it. I was just. And it was brilliant. And he was brilliant. And I think he was to seize a low-key guy. I mean, I don't think of even two days and nights. He's like just an average Joe or he's not a star. I mean, is a star. But he just this sweet guy.

Interviewer: So tell me what it was like. You were listening doing that.

Bill Daily: I wasn't there. I didn't listen to him. I was so upset about the thing. And that wasn't one of my shows. I wasn't directing. I was gonna be the star that night. I needed to say I was so upset. I just didn't even go to them. And I didn't see him that night. But the next day, the paper, all the columnists just said this genius and comic genius. And it just broke my heart. And then when I went to do the I went to do the audition for the Jack Paar Show. And Bob had done it the week before I got out there. And I do. I'm on the phone. I do the thing, but I will have the premise. There's having a little. The ship is drowning off Lake Michigan and the captain realizes they're going to be a lot of good press. So he decides to go down with the ship. And I'm on I'm director. Guys, a lot of you guys have never drowned before, so you don't have to. And they said he's doing Newhart, get rid of him. And that broke my heart. I quit. Never went back. Never did a stand up. Never did. I mean, it was killing. It just killed me. I mean, even today, it's like, you know, and I'm not I wasn't as funny as he eyed. His writing is better. His timing is better. So I just quit just and went back.

Interviewer: So you owe your tv career really to seeing him.

Bill Daily: Yeah, well, I just went a different direction, I just forgot all about that. I don't know what happened, how I got back into what again. But boy, I didn't do anything for years. I wouldn't do a stand up. I wouldn't do anything in a bar. And nobody can do that. Phone barbers, comic genius. Come on. I mean, even today that I saw him up and I live in New Mexico, what he was up in Santa Fe to get his act. These did the driving instructor really just blew everybody away. I mean, nobody could have timing like that, you know?

Interviewer: What was it about the Abe Lincoln piece? Was people even Bob says he thinks that's probably the best.

Bill Daily: I don't remember exactly, because it's not. I don't remember if that's on his albums, I know most of his stuff. I don't know. I don't know what it was, but it was. I wish I could remember some of the lines, but I can almost, quote, hold lives, other things. But I don't remember that went too well.

Interviewer: You can say it again that night. The night of that show he was launched as a star.

Bill Daily: No, I can't say that because I wasn't at the show. I wasn't there. We just said that. No, no. The next day. The next after Bob's dead, his show that night, he did that one piece of material the next day. Everybody was in the audience that night at the Warner Brothers. Just signed him up. And he didn't have an act. No. In fact, I had a piece of material that I was doing. That was it. He took it away from me because he had to have something and he just went and did I think he had a right six or seven pieces. He went to Houston somewhere, you know, but I don't remember that. I remember most of his routines, but I. I don't know that one. I just I know it was brilliant. And I know everybody just he was a star. I mean, right from that moment.

Interviewer: So that night. The ABC executives were in the audience and news reporters.

Bill Daily: I don't know who was in there, but somebody the next day or in. All the great columnists just said it was the most brilliant night ever. Warner Brothers hired them right there. They do do an album tweet. Hogan was a brilliant manager, signed him up, the whole thing. And you can imagine, I felt reading about this to next day and I was supposed to be the guy, you know. And unfortunately, he was such a nice man, Bob. You know, I was happy for him, but I would have been happier for me if I had done it, right. Yeah. And then being accused, accused of doing his material. Oh, man. Wow. And when I did The Bob Newhart Show, the first thing cause he didn't have anything to do with me. You can't let the star pick the show off and never work it because all his friends. But when when I got the show, because my timing, its aim, his I go will you. And they said, Stricker's. I'm sorry. You can't do the stuttering. The star gets to do the stuttering. Right. We'll both be going will. You will. But that's a crutch. Now all of a sudden I had to come on top. Hi, Bob. And it was very hard for me to do that without saying. Do you want. You want to go with me? Starring only one, one guy gets to do the stuttering, Bob got to do the stuttering and he does a better night live anyway.

Interviewer: We're talking about his timing. What is it about his timing and can you talk about that?

Bill Daily: Well you're born with timing. I mean, there's nothing. It's just. I've never I guess I think everybody in the business as favorite is Jack Benny, and we all do. Jack Benny, you know, say that. I mean, that's you know, that's. But he got that you're born with that. You can't go to a comedy school, you know. I mean, you're just born funny. Can't go to funny school. You know, he just born funny. And Bob was. And you never know what I mean. He's just an average dresser, an average guy. And he is quiet and he doesn't say funny things. And he's not. When he puts this material together with writing, he's just an incredible writer. I met some of some of those brilliant things that he does. I think I could do him because the premise is so great. Like when King Kong, the guy's first night as a watchman and he didn't get a chance to go over all the problems. And because it was his first night and King Kong is on the building, the Empire State Building, and he's calling up the manager. Hi. I'm we're having a little problem here. Yeah, somebody is outside of the building is footy's on the 12th floor and his hands are on the 90 second. But I think you get that premise. I think I could go with him or Superman calling Superman calling up the cleaner is one thing, but it has a nelsa. All those premises he does are just incredible. I could go with him. You know, there's incredible. Yeah.

Interviewer: You said to me on the phone yhat the greatest premise man. Can you talk about that again.

Bill Daily: That he was what?

Interviewer: The greatest premise man?

Bill Daily: Oh, yeah. Well, I said that that premises I mean. I mean. I mean all of them. And you've seen the devil hit the button down mind of Bob Newhart. Every one of those things are just they work today. I mean, every one of the bus drivers. I mean, all those things. That's just I think I could write them. Well, not as well as some, but what I don't know where it comes up with those premises, you know, because he's just an average guy from a middle class family. And it is strange.

Interviewer: Do you think. Can you talk about both from Chicago and sort of Chicago sense of humor?

Bill Daily: Well, Chicago at that time. I mean, I was the first one ever did Second City. And that's where that came from. Bob, I don't think that the heat was not much of an actor. He was more of a getting. We're just not doing physical stuff. But at that time, Shelley Berman did a lot of the telephone stuff. But Shelley was not a nice man. And Bob's doing the same thing, but is kind and Sweden good. So it worked a little better. A little better on close up. But at that time, I don't remember the many comics came out of most comics used. Usually they came from the Midwest. You know, I think Johnny Carson. Everybody did come to the Midwest at that time, being from Chicago. No, I don't. I don't think of being from Chicago. No, I don't. Actually, I'm originally from Iowa. But I. I don't know. I don't think that has. Chicago has anything to do with it. And you're just born funny. He just born a funny guy, you know, an unusual kind of guy. Because most comics today, because I was a director in those days working with a lot of those guys. We started the Mike Douglas Show in Cleveland with no money and we had these comics. Come on, most comics are not nice. And those days you take the Sid Caesar and all those guys and they were not nice people. And here comes along a guy that's just. Beyond sweet, and he's a star is not nice.

Interviewer: Yeah. Just give you a little more. Set. OK. I just want to go back, if I if I could, how do you just say I don't think we got the beginning of the. What about the Halloween story? You could just say that I first met Bob at a Halloween party.

Bill Daily: But aren't we talking about Bob? Well, they know we're talking about Bob. The show is about Bob.

Interviewer: There is but we're not going to have narration.

Bill Daily: Because if they don't know, I'm here about Bob, Bob, you're in deep trouble. You guys have got a tough show here. A good father. To go back to the story.

Interviewer: Just the first part. I first met Bob at a Halloween party.

Bill Daily: Yeah. Okay. Gotcha. Anyway, I first met Bob at a Halloween party, but not really, I mean, terrible Halloween party. I mean, nobody really cared somebody who had own way and shirt on and a cowboy boots. And I think I would just I mean, nobody really dressed. And here comes this guy. Never seen the guy dressed as Leonardo da Vinci has the painting of the Mona Lisa and under his arm. Right. And half of it is by the numbers. Is seven and 12 in the painting? It blew me away. I just said, who is this guy, you know? Yeah. And by the way, once again, it was. And then I known. Then I got to know him quite well after that. So.

Interviewer: That's great. Thank you. And also, I just want to peel bit of the Emmy story, because that's such a crucial story. I don't think people realize, you know, that you were involved or what. What happened to him that night?

Bill Daily: Okay.

Interviewer: Very specifically say that you were working at NBC. There was a local Emmy show and then you asked Bob to perform.

Bill Daily: Didn't I say all hat?

Interviewer: I just I just think we missed that. I just want to get it clearly.

Bill Daily: All right. I'll try to make it clear.

Interviewer: Ok. Thank you.

Bill Daily: How do I start this. Anyway, I was associate director at NBC and I was pretty funny and I just wanted to get into television. I've only became associate director because. So I get once you get your foot in the door, you start doing funny things. And I did Club 60 and was. And that's what happened. Get in there now. Dave Barnhart's, who was a director at the pretty addicted Dick Cavett for years. A dear friend of mine. And he's the one who really is responsible for my humor because everybody knew her. Nowadays, everybody gets standup topics. So we died everywhere we went. People hated us. I'm doing a baby's first day home from the hospital. I mean, he's just screaming and drunks and yelling. So this is my way out. This I'm going to make it big. Everybody is going to be at this local Emmy, a party everybody in the world is there. I got five pieces of material. It's going to make me a star. I'm telling. And they were really good. And Barney wrote up. We wrote the whole thing. They're going to be there. I'm gonna be the star. Five days before the show went on, the union, the cameraman. Sorry about that camera cameraman went on strike. We had no show. They cut it, cancel it. So Newhart would come in every once in a while with Dan Sorkin. And they had a little late night thing and he would do a little piece of material. So I said to him, can you do of you know, can you write something for that night, something appropriate, you know, about press? And he did. And he wrote, Abraham Lincoln's press agent blew everybody away. Just I mean, at Warner Brothers Records were there. They hired him right away to do an album tweet. Holguin, a famous personal manager, became his man. Every all the press people were cutting the cups and a big time people paper. The next day, Star is born and it just. And I never did think I'm going to kill me. I mean, we just couldn't have do a nicer guy. But at that time, I probably would have punched them in the nose, I think. Hey, talented people are nice. That's and he's a nice family man. I hate those kind of guys.

Interviewer: He actually said, I think the Warner Brothers thing came later, I think it was it was it ABC executives who were there.

Bill Daily: I don't remember how it all happened. Needless to say, I don't remember. I just know that night that he went on, it was just star time. I thought I thought the Warner Brothers were in the audience that night. I may have not. Cause you talk to him, you'll get it straight.

Interviewer: I think it was ABC people maybe.

Bill Daily: Oh, man. I mean, it was just the next day would just. It was dynamite. By the to the camp, we're just talking about the audio guy, about 16 million. Always remember Bob Newhart said the other days that that when we used the spot pins in the bowling alley when we were kids, you know, people don't know what spotting pins is. Dave's electric. I mean, we had. But all the pins up, very dangerous. Very danger in a corner. Now, hour, we were going to the bullets. And he said, you can imagine working at a bowling alley. The balls are coming down. We're setting all the things or setting it back. It turns me by way, Bill. I'm buying this house for a soft 16 mills. And he did. He bought those islands some place in Bel Air for his subjects. It's hysterical. Yeah. We're buying us out half our soft 16 male. Okay. That's his wit. That's his dry, dry wit. I don't think that show. When I made it today, I don't know the new hair, because we're ensconced in that Saturday night with everybody, Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Burnett and MASH, everybody was all in the family. I don't know if we would have made it because the show was so quiet and so gentle and so subtle. You know, today. I don't know about it. It would go on. I'm so proud of the show, though. I really am.

Interviewer: Do you think that subtle gentleness. Is that Bob?

Bill Daily: That's Bob. When the star is nice and sweet. You better be. I mean, there's one guy on the show I'm not gonna mention that was not that nice. But when you're working with a star, that's nice. You better not come down and be nice. That's. No, I don't. I don't know about the show. Go on today, that kind of humor and pat all the scripts that I'm offered and stuff. And I live in a mixture. I mean, it's mean spirited. Everybody, it's their mother. And the kids are often I don't get it. I don't even get the movies that I see out there. I'm I'm just getting I am old, but I mean, I'm losing it somewhere. You know, I just.

Interviewer: As you mentioned before, it's a great story that Bob use to lent you material. about.

Bill Daily: The only the best piece of metal I was working at the Gate of Horn, which is really a chic place. I was doing but once again, I worked at NBC and whole family lived in the suburbs, so I couldn't afford to go to Second City. They wanted to hire me. So I worked these little clubs, so I I'd have a piece of material. What is the airplane instructor? And it was a brilliant piece of material. And he wasn't doing an act. He let me have it. So I did it. It was my best piece of material. And then when he got the contract says, Bill, I gotta have it back. So I didn't have an ax took place. In fact, I was telling him last night when I saw him last night, remember the line, somebody said something and he's on the airplane and he's looking down. He says, look at that. I mean, those people look like ants. He said, What? We haven't taken off yet. They are ants, huh? But his timing is better than mine. But, you know.

Interviewer: If I can just ask you say again that Bob just lent you a peice about the airline pilots.

Bill Daily: That is weird. You don't know what we're talking about, but I never had this problem. Yeah, this is weird, but I've never had there's I've done a thousand of I'm going back to probably. Yes. Weird. Yeah. Because I don't understand. Why wouldn't it. We don't know. It's the Bob Newhart. Are you want me to go back and say that. Now, I've got I'll do anything you want to do, it's just confusing. And they don't know when I say that, material, we're talking about Bob, right?

Interviewer: Explain that Bob gave you a piece of material.

Bill Daily: OK. Got it. Anyway, Bob, Bob Newhart, he's is the funny guy with the telephone. Bob Newhart. Oh, by the way, before I get into this story that Bob Newhart, my my wife was nice, sweet little girl from Texas, had never met a star, never met anybody fifteen years ago, were out at a big party to Bob show that Bob Newhart Show. But to suggest call Bob and everybody's everybody is at the door at Le Dome, every big executives there. And my wife sits next to Bob Newhart is terrified. She's just sitting there and doesn't say a thing. She's just sitting like this. And funny. There's a big lull. And she turned round to Bob Newhart says, our dog's name is Bob. Sure, so it seems those, I guess, which you said that last night. I can't believe I said that. And anyway, our dog's name is Bob Carr's. Hi, Bob. Well, getting back the material, Bob Newhart. OK. Anyway, what was that? What was that? What were we talking about?

Interviewer: You were just gonna say that Bob had lent you a piece of material.

Bill Daily: Oh yeah. Bob. Bob Newhart. Whatever happened to Bob Newhart? By the way, is he still around? Whatever happened to me anyway. Bob Newhart. He had, I think, a couple of pieces of material. And he had one was the airline pilot, which just brilliant. And I had my stuff was average, was average. But it's for TV. I just bombed in nightclubs because I did video channel. Here's the baby's first day from the hospital. OK. And everybody bow and drive, drinking, yelling. And he was so he gave me a piece of material. It was brilliant. It was the best thing in my act. And I was doing real well with it. And I was working some good clubs. And he got the contract. I mean, to go to Euston. And he didn't and materially took the material back. And I didn't have an act. And that's why I'm here talking to you. Free Keino.

Interviewer: Would you say he got the contract?

Bill Daily: Pardon?

Interviewer: Would you say he got the contract?

Bill Daily: Yeah. When he got well with I don't know how it went those days, but I think Warner Brothers asked him to do as Bob Newhart to do a to do an album. So, you know, he didn't have any. I think he had one piece of material and that was it. So I was doing that. So he took my whole act from it and went back and became famous. And I'll have to steal that one again. It was a brilliant, brilliant piece.

Interviewer: Thank you. And you don't have to say Bob Newhart. I was just asking you.

Bill Daily: OK. OK.

Interviewer: So let's talk about The Bob Newhart Show and how you became involved because you weren't originally originally.

Bill Daily: Yeah, well, the Bob Newhart Show. What? Oh, yes. I went to the original guy. Was the original when?

Interviewer: But hadnt they done a pilot before that that changed or something.

Bill Daily: Now, let me tell you how it went, because I was there. OK? Here's how it goes. What happened was Lorenzo Music, who created a show with Dave Davies, The Bob Newhart Show. I'm kidding right now. They called me in and Dave Lovingness said, we got this thing, a pilot. He has a little jet lag and we'd like you to do the puppet. I said, you want me to work with Bob Newhart? The funniest, nicest man I ever met. Who was the best writer in the world? You got to be kidding. Oh, my God. I'll do it. I didn't ask for money. It's just. Yeah, we want to use you. The door opens up. You come to Grant Tinker. Grant, take a walk to the room. Says I want you to read for a pilot. I said, no, no thanks, Grant. I want to do this, this. And this is my company. I'm getting yelled at. He pulls me out. I did a thing called the councilman a spin off in the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Right. So anyway, about two months later, I get a call from Grant, Tager says, I got good news and bad news. He says, well, the bad news is they didn't like the show at all. Councilman. But they'd like you. And they want to put you in a new art show. And they fired a wonderful actor. William Redford was was the neighbor. I think he owned a building or something. And I wasn't in the pilot and they gave me and then they gave put me in with Bob Newhart. I'm going with Susan Amper chef. I mean, it was the greatest day of my life. It was just I didn't make any money because if you don't do the pilot, you don't get the hold money. So, Peter Bonners, all those people making it three times more than Marcia Wallace. We didn't make money because show was already sold. So there's no bargaining. But who cared? And it was the greatest, greatest six years of my life.

Interviewer: Why do you think they brought you in? Is it because Bob needs funny quirky characters to react to?

Bill Daily: I don't know. I don't know why they brought me and I. They must have seen something in that pilot. It's really hard to do. A pilot within a show. The Mary Tyler Moore was her. And then I played the councilman and they saw something in that. You know, I still don't even know why people Genea wasn't in the pilot when they fired everybody. I just saw Sidney Sheldon on. I ask him, nobody can seem seemed to give me. Why did I get that part? But but, Bob, I don't know why. Because our timing was so much alike, you know, I lost my stuttering. No, no, no. I don't know why that happened. But whatever it if I can make I can make Bob laugh more than anybody in the world. I just sit down. We had to cancel so many show wait and Grant Tigger called us down and said, look, you guys are embarrassing. You've got to stop laughing. We have people on this show and you guys are breaking up. All was awful. We because we'd like each other. And I wouldn't I couldn't look at his face. I would just kind of look this way and he would look the other way. I mean, we just walk in the door and he would start the lab. We cut Judy. Well, I've never seen that walk before. He would say, you know.

Interviewer: Were there times you know, that he would crack you up and just the way he reacted.

Bill Daily: I don't know, we just laugh together, not so much the way we react that we just liked each other. Something about our time together, we just had a hard time keeping a straight face. I never had that problem with anyone ever but him. I could just look at him and it was just. And it's terrible. And you can't stop laughing. You've got people you know and an audience, and yet you're doing a show. It's really awful. They're very distracting and tough. Any the other act, especially guest actors act. I mean, for a show and you're just laughing. It's awful. It's not funny. But you and you can't stop now. I can break him up.

Interviewer: He was known as a great reactor?

Bill Daily: Oh, the best in the world. The best. The phone that the phone. It picks up the phone. Nobody. Know. It's beyond a genius. Yeah, he's. He's his. That's his thing. When he plays the I think the best show was the Bob Newhart Show because he could rack when he was a psychiatrist, psychologist, I think, and the others were pretty good. But that was just listening. He's such a brilliant listener. And, you know, it's just a.

Interviewer: Reload.

Bill Daily: OK.

Interviewer: Were talking about Bob's reactions and that could he make a line funny or just by the way he listen to it, by the way he reacted.

Bill Daily: Could I make a line frontier.

Interviewer: Can Bob make line or just by the way, he reacted, blinking?

Bill Daily: Well, if he had. I mean, his timing is this. Yeah. He just. Just shoot him with the blinking the eyes, you know, just shoot Bob doing that. You don't even need to say anything. No, he's. Yeah, he's a great listener. That's his problem, that that telephone, he does know he's a brilliant listener. I don't hear any. I don't know what you're saying. I was listening and party like to apologize for our listening audience. They're not listening. Right. Because I love talking. We're great because I'd love to talk and tell jokes. And he's quiet.

Interviewer: Can you compare Bob Newhart to Bob Hartley?

Bill Daily: Bob Newhart, the Bob Hartley. Same guy, same guy, and I think I hope I'm not Howard that character. I don't think I'm that guy. But now he's that and that's him. I mean, it's not acting. That's just like walking because he's a wonderful actor. People don't realize that, you know, because he's such a good comedy. So we have one heck of an actor. So that I mean, just just just watching him is just wonderful, you know?

Interviewer: Do you think. People didnt realize how good of an actor he was. That's the show? Did Bob not always get the recognition?

Bill Daily: Bob never got the recognition. I think that's what the the problem with our business, with most businesses. I think when a gu is a star, is a nice, sweet guy. They step on him. I mean, they he's the reason he was gonna go off after I think five years is that there was Trinny like he was nothing. And finally, I think Bob would find he said, you can't go. We love you. Oh, really? I say no, because nobody they have problems. I'm not gonna mention names, but they all the attention that's even with your own children. You know, you've got five kids and you don't the really sweet kind ones, you just kind of leave there like I've kept. And they're really problems. You just spend all your time and your energy on them. It's the way it is in TV. Bob was so sweet. They just said, oh, well, we'll just, you know, all he wanted to somebody say is just, boy, you're good, you know? No, he never got to record. Even today, those shows will hold up. The problem was, I don't think they do well on syndication like I Dream of Jeannie because Bob gives you have to joke and you have to get the other half. Like, my mother doesn't get nobody. Bob's younger. You've got to have a sense of humor, too, to like Bob. If you don't, you won't get it. You don't get it at all.

Interviewer: The audience has to be.

Bill Daily: The Audience has to be fun to have a funny mind. With Bob Newhart. Because if you don't, he just lays half of it out and you better get the other half. You know, but today's are humor is so in your face, I see some of these movies out. I just can't can't believe them. Just awful. Yeah.

Interviewer: So he was never even nominated I dont think?

Bill Daily: No, none of us were. Well, that there was a reason for that. One reason was we were with Mary Tyler Moore was our boss and that was the company. So they all voted for her, which she deserved to show was brilliant. But that's that's the way it is, you know? I mean, we got the second rate writers and the producer, and it was her company. I mean, she own a show, so, you know. So when it came to voting time and she did deserve it, the show was brilliantly, brilliantly written.

Interviewer: If we can just explain that. So Bob and the show were nominated for an emmy. Is that right?

Bill Daily: Bob was no saint, Bob was never. None of us. And that show was ever even, I think, even up for an Emmy. I don't think so, because The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary, on the show. So she got the votes sent to her. And she was great. And she was wonderful. And it was a great show. No, I can't believe we're never, you know, won. When the Emmys came out, Bob and I would look the next day and said, nobody's on this. And he Suzume Pichette is the best straight man. Brilliant actress. Great timing. Beautiful. I mean, how could she not be in there? I mean, no one I've never worked with anybody so professional and so bright and so right on it. Like, she's not acting. I mean, she was brilliant. You know, Bobbie, I was doing a show. I'm not going to mention her name. He was doing a show. I'm not gonna mention name. And we'd call in and say how bad these girls were. We were I said, no minds awards, no Discworld. I'm worthless. No. This is the worst. And when we'd say, but how about, you know, Suzanne Presets around which a boy would be nice if we had her back. What are you finding in the show and the news. That woke up one night in bed with her at the end of the show. So that was good. But he loved working with her and they were great together.

Interviewer: Can you say how long the show was on and what you know on why it ended?

Bill Daily: There's a Bob Newhart Show was on for six years. And I think it ended because, Bob, I think he didn't want to do it anymore. Our ratings were pretty good today. I mean, shows go on for 11 or 12 years. I would have loved to done it forever. I loved the writing. I had a little problem with Newhart. Didn't know at the time. I'm dyslectic, so I had to memorize everything and I'd stumble over the words. And the only reason I took the Bob Newhart Show is I could read Bob being dyslectic. That wasn't bad. It was a pretty good, but it is true, I couldn't read it. A bar was a good thing, Bob. OK. Backwards.

Interviewer: But what do you remember about filming the last episode and what the mood was.

Bill Daily: The last episode was the saddest night of my life. Everybody crying, everybody. You know, I'd imagine with some of those shows like Frasier. They've done it for 11 years. It must be. Well, it would be the same with the two years. The three of we we really, really liked each other last night with the whole cast. It was warm and is like we never left each other, you know. Well, Bob. Yeah, Bob is you never know when he's sad because he always looks sad. He's got that face, but he doesn't show his emotion much. You know, like me, I cry at a circus, you know, and court, you know. And the girls were just. Oh, Marcia Wallace. Oh. I mean, everybody was just that, you know, Peter Bonners. He's pretty. He directed a lot of show. Wonderful director. He was a he didn't break down, but I was it was a nightmare for me.

Interviewer: Did you. Try to convince them. Did you think his timing was right? It was the right time to end it?

Bill Daily: No, I don't. I don't. I don't think we should have ended it. But, you know, he's the star and he wanted to end it. And, you know, he was rich. He owned part of the show. So I know I would have gone over. I don't know. I don't really know why he wants to do a and maybe thought. I don't know why. I think we've got to go on a lot more. Gone three or four more years. And like Marsh did. I don't know why. I've got to ask him. And when he tells you. Tell me why he why he wanted to leave the show, you know.

Interviewer: Could you set up your favorite episodes? You said.

Bill Daily: Well, everybody's favorite episode is the two of them, one is the Google guy, Pan is number one, and the other two, I mean, where I'm holding up the wall. And Bob, I would never go to the dailies because I am daily. That's my name daily. But I never went to the dailies, but I remember him coming. He was always a fan of mine. And his wife, giant fan. I love Jenny. And they came from the from the dailies with when we did hold up the wall and they were fine. They were laughing so hard. They came in. They were just. He said, I have never it. Well, that's the only thing he uses in his act. The film, the clip of me coming in the wall. You know what it is. By the way, what it is, is a guy who's holding him up, a robber. He says, get up against the wall. He's got the gun against the wall. And Howard, I'm the neighbor. I come in the door. He said, Howard, help. I go right by. I got a gun. And hole up the wall and through the entire half hour of the can. Can you guys help me here? I'm having a little. And that that's what he uses in his act. And Google Guy Pan is is that's that seems to be the number one favorite. That was up for some kind of award. But isn't it amazing the show never won an award? Man, I'm so proud of that show. I still don't get it.

Interviewer: Can you describe the movie by dancing in the end what was happening.

Bill Daily: No, I don't remember. I don't remember. Guy Pan with how it went, I don't remember anything because I just know I always had a hard time with lines and it was not easy for me, but without much rehearsal, so was a bit of struggle. But I know that thing when a plain drunk was, when we're all loaded, slowly get loaded. And I'm just working with Jack Riley is my favorite all time comic plays. Carlin on the show I was with last night, also with him and just working with those. Just going to work, you know, with a comic genius who's nice. I mean, wow.

Interviewer: Was it funny to see Bob drunk?

Bill Daily: Yeah, Bob did a great drunk. I don't think he drinks that. What, he has a scotch. No, and he's not much and nobody was much of a drinker on the show. But the weirdest thing, everybody smoked. I'm the only guy I didn't smoke. We'd go to Hellstorm so I'd like some yogurt and a package of Campbell's you know. And he was it was weird. And Bob smoked very heavily. I think he had to give up smoking you to smoke anymore. So Jan Pichette smoked. Marcia Wallace smoked Jack, while everybody smoked. The smoking set the smoke.

Interviewer: Yeah. I think he had to give up smoking.

Bill Daily: Yeah he had some problems.

Interviewer: Tell me about you guest star.

Bill Daily: What is that again?

Interviewer: Tell me what you thought about that show.

Bill Daily: Well, I guess starred Bob on all of his shows. I mean, every show and I only work when he does a show. We'll be going to those show. I get another job. But did we say the first one was? I think there he had Bob Newhart Show and Newhart and then Bob were doing the next. That's going to be the next show I did. They did a they Bob Newhart was when he was up in the cabin, I think I did that show. And once again, I came in off the stage came I was doing a play and I came in with a what? I mean. Wow. We're gonna do this and I'll do that. And I was staging all this stuff and now terrified everybody. Bob's just doing his blinkx, watching me like this nice wall. So I just calm down. We did the whole thing just close up, not moving. He's not a physical comic. That's his. Pardon?

Interviewer: I'm sorry to sound. The Bob Newhart Show. I don't alot of people may remember part of this great lineup.

Bill Daily: Can you tell me about that lineup if I remember the lineup? When Bob got this show, I mean, I couldn't believe where they put us because I think first was all in the family and then they mash. And I think it was Bob Newhart who was five, and then it was Mary Tyler Moore, and then it was Carol Bernette and everybody stayed home on Saturday night and it was worth it. So the Ragini was always like, if ratings were never really very popular, every 13 weeks had gone by a couch or something, they picked up the show. But this you were five. You were number three or two. I mean, the top five was it. I mean, we got the show. We've got to spend some money. So that was great. That lineup was people stayed home on Saturday night. No.

Interviewer: Was that clear? No. It was clear.

Bill Daily: Yeah. That Saturday night was. But I don't think we'd make it. I don't think any is a billion times more popular than a Newhart Show, because it's all also the the office at the same, you know. I mean, no sideburns were dead. Jeanie's the same uniforms. Bob Newhart. Look, I've got the tie and the thing with sideburns and. Yeah, yeah, 17. But but that's why Geni is still popular, because it's a uniform. No sideburn, short hair and the genie outfit.

Interviewer: What did you. because you also guest starred on his later two series.

Bill Daily: Yeah, I did the Bob. Yeah. Bob. Nah, just call Bob and we see what it I do on that show. I forget all that, Bob. Yeah. We played we were his card buddies. We did two a three and was Tom Poston and Steve Lawrence and they, it was we were just his buddies playing card buddies. But what a nice guy. Well there is a guys there's a guy that's quick. I mean, nobody is quicker than Steve Lawrence. Wow.

Interviewer: What did you think of those leaders? Why they didn't.

Bill Daily: I don't think the last word, Bob. I don't think that worked at all. He was a little mean spirited. He forgot what he was. It was he was a cartoonist. I forgot what he was. But whatever the writing was and there's some wonderful writers that and the people around him, it just didn't work. And I saw it a couple of times and I didn't like it. I saw the pilot. I didn't like it. And, you know, everything's writing. That's why Bob Newhart is a big star, because he wrote his stuff. And it was great stuff. I mean, whoa, you know, and writing, if you don't have the writing, there's an unarmed and all movies. An average actor can be very funny with a great script, but you can take a comic genius and with no script and he won't be funny. I mean, you've seen all those great Steve Martin, all those guys. Yes. Bomb geniuses, scripts.

Interviewer: What were you saying? On those later shows. That they made him too mean?

Bill Daily: Well, on a later show. Yeah, I don't know what it was. I don't know what the writing was. But it was it just wasn't him. It just wasn't well-written. You know, Bob Newhart originally, I that's a better at all. It shows you because the Charles brothers wrote taxin they wrote, they wrote cheers. They were afraid of me. They don't write jokes. You know, we had wonderful writers and Bob knows writing. I mean he knows what he's doing so he can look at a script and say this is not working, but here's the way we can make it work. And I'm pretty lucky too. I'm a pretty average writer. And I can say rather than tell the guys this isn't funny, I say maybe, maybe give me a better line here. You know, what can I do with this work if we did that? Because these guys work 9000 hours a day, writers and and they're doing their best. You know, Larry Hagman there. Hagman would read Sidney Sausen script and tear it up and throw on his face.

Interviewer: Would Bob do that on the show?

Bill Daily: Well he was crueler than he was crueler than than Larry Hagman. I think you'd rather those guys they haven't shown his face. Cuz Bob would say he would say, guys, is this a real script, guys? And that was like it was like, no. When he said that that just that hurt, that was. But, you know, he was brother had Jordan your face or some because the writers do. Is this really this is not a real script is it guys. And it Obie's the writers who would be going. Yeah, he knew what he knew would work with everybody he knew was right and but that way but that rewriting is really the most important thing in a show like that, because you can read a script and then when you get it on its feet, it's not funny at all. Or you can read an average script and you get it on speed and it's brilliant. So all that rewriting every day, it's the rewriting that really makes it work. And Bob is very good at that.

Interviewer: On the last two series though what did you think it was that wasnt Bob.

Bill Daily: The last well, I only saw one and I was the one I was and I thought it was some pretty funny stuff, but I just didn't care for it. I didn't like their show at all. I mean, everybody just the the wife didn't seem to work right to me that his boss, the guy who was working for them and no, nobody worked. And that's when the script doesn't work. You don't need to point fingers at anybody. The script wasn't there. He was pretty good, he had read the one he did after that. I also did that. What was the guy's name as George and Leo? Yeah. Bob did George and Leo and I did that. So I did that show. And I thought that times like what he would have put Bob for. He has a show. But I thought that was that was good for him. I thought he was good in it. He worked hard on it. He liked the show. I thought the camera straight, but I thought it was just too subtle for the day's audience. I don't know. But that was a good show.

Interviewer: Are you surpised that Bob is still out there touring. He's still so relevant today.

Bill Daily: No Bob's doing movies, he's a good actor. He's doing I saw him in Elf. It was was pretty good. I saw him. I just saw him up in Santa Fe do his act. It was brilliant as ever. He's doing I think he's doing housewives. He's doing that. He's doing everything. I know. And he's he's a good actor. Me, I'm just I live in New Mexico and you sit around and stare at my dog. I'm not doing anything. I'm not coming out here for this is a big move career move for me to show. This is boy, this is exciting. I know. This is cool. Talk about me. OK. Larry Hagman, that is never by Larry Hagman.

Interviewer: Two things that we tocuhed on before. If could compare them again. You were talking about some interesting comparison between Bob and Shelley Berman. You could talk about that.

Bill Daily: Yeah. OK. When it when in Chicago, when there was a comic called Shelley Berman and he was funny and he was brilliant and his timing was great, but he was a mean, nasty guy man. He was weird and a little bit crazy and just they did a special on him and where he tore the phone off the wall and they let him put it in it. He was there. Now, Bob did the same kind of material are maybe not better, but you get a close up on Bob, who is a kind, sweet and gentle man. So when you're on television, I got that close up up your boy. And Shelley had those pockmarks on his face and he was better and he was angry. And here's this wonderful, nice man. And it just comes across on TV. You know.

Interviewer: And audiences respond to that.

Bill Daily: Oh well the audience respond. He's a star. I mean, 5000 shows later. I mean, he's still out there working, you know.

Interviewer: And another thing you said before, they just would like to ask you again. I think I said it, but I would love to hear you say, because you said to me on the phone that he was the greatest premiseman. If you can say that.

Bill Daily: Again. OK. OK. I think Bob's one of the great, great things about him is the premises. I think that I think I could be funnier than he is. But those premises, I mean, it just every one of my new take of Superman, calling the cleaners, describing his, you know, his outfit. Well, it has an essence. I mean, you go with that, a King Kong of the guy's first night as a watchman. He didn't get a chance to go over all the problems. And he's calling the manager. We all have problems here. Well, we got a. Yeah. If I say you're billing as footy's on the second floor and his hand is on the twenty ninth, whatever, I mean then you can go with that. I mean it's just having an airline pilot. I mean anything. The whole premise of the things that just hysterical Haddaway comes up with these things because he's a middle class guy and a middleman. Well, he he went to lie all university. Nice Catholic boy. You'd never when you see him, you know, he's an average dressed guy. He's not. And the clothes are not in the article. He's just an average guy. Where does he come up with these things?

Interviewer: Do you think he was the greatest premise mans? Did you actually use that term?

Bill Daily: Pardon?

Interviewer: Do you think he actually was the greatest premise man?

Bill Daily: Well, do I think he's the best premiss? Bob, let me see who would be out there doing funny. Now, his button down my own mind of Bob Newhart. I'm trying to think of some of those. We, Bob, we hung around again. We think the best comic ever. Well, with Jack Benny's first. But Richard Pryor. We'd got to see him. What? Just the premise. I mean, I've never, ever seen anything that brilliant in my life. So but even he didn't do the kind of thing. Once again, you couldn't put him, you know, on TV because a lot of swearing. But, yeah, Bob, everything I know, he was the best he would. No one no one ever cut him doing that. I can't think of anybody better than he is on his premises. God, I wish I could think of them. I wish I had thought of them. I would be no. Now I got lucky to work with him. So that's cool.

Interviewer: Did you have omething about the hi Bob game?

Bill Daily: Well, the high bob game was written, I think was written up in Time magazine about the kids. We turned a lot of college kids into drunks because every time they come to Hi, Bob. And I think he got more drinks if I said it because I didn't like my car lyson places. Hi, Bob. Which was easy to get when you're in. Not too many. Bob's in New Mexico. Lot of spandex out there. You know, I think I'm the only one that's not Hispanic. But but Bob, my dog's name is Hi Bob, which is kind of nice. So, you know,.

Interviewer: Do you think he likes to be remembered as a nice way to have the show remembered in a game?

Bill Daily: I remember well, I don't know. He he wrote me a letter when it but when I was a live in New Mexico, he wrote me a really loved letter and he showed me the article and times and he said, kind of be rough, you know, remembered as a guy to turn people into drunks, you know, but it was a very fame. Hi, Bob. I mean, it really became very, very famous. And the kids still stopped me from that, you know, from college. Boy, we're in college. Hi, Bob. Hi, Bob. You know, that's the show. I don't know why this show is not the why is not more popular in syndication. Well, I do. I just explained it before. It's too subtle for Dave. Today's a comedy. You know, comics.

Interviewer: I think you're too sort of cerebal or something.

Bill Daily: No, as I said before, you're born funny, you know? And Bob Bob's Dumarey. If you don't have a sense of humor, you're going to miss it all. And today's you know, the days movies are all about Mary. Oh, they're just slapstick in your face. And there's nothing subtle about it. For me personally, the British are still doing some kind of nice things. They'll play the characters. They don't go for the joke. So they'll do some. But they just did a remake there because they did a remake of Ladykillers. And Original is charming and lovely. And this is swearing and raunchy and terrible and. And somewhere I'm just I'm just old I guess, you know, they still got The New Yorker out there and they still got their lovely jokes on there. So that works in a.

Interviewer: Tone. Ten seconds. Bob Daily. And told Bill Daley intervene. You know, Bob never knew I dyslectic, you never knew it. They just made fun of me. When I when I'd read and everybody made fun of.

Bill Daily
Interview Date:
2005-03-14
Runtime:
0:52:02
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-fj29883846, cpb-aacip-504-348gf0nc19
MLA CITATIONS:
"Bill Daily, Bob Newhart: Unbuttoned." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 14 Mar. 2005, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/467
APA CITATIONS:
(2005, March 14). Bill Daily, Bob Newhart: Unbuttoned. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/467
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Bill Daily, Bob Newhart: Unbuttoned." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). March 14, 2005. Accessed July 02, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/467

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