Transcript:

Interviewer: Before we talk about the show, I'd just like to know, like how familiar with Bob's work you were before you were on the show with his albums?

Marcia Wallace: I was familiar with his albums. In fact, I was so happy to have this job. And it was it was one of those great stories, you know, that make all actors feel better. I had come to get into show business, of course, and one day I was had I had a callback for some galoshes commercial, you know, that was going to run in Butte, Montana, at 2:00 in the morning. And I get home and there's a phone call from Grant Tinker. And I thought, well, this is rude. This is some hateful friend of mine, and I don't think it's funny. I had been on The Merv Griffin Show. Merv Griffin had a show up as a Carson for a few years, and I was on it. Well, Grant Tinker said, hey, Bill Paley saw you on this show and says. You know what? I like this Bob Newhart Show pilot. But I want more. I want more of that stuff in the office. So you know what they need? They need a receptionist. I saw this girl on The Merv Griffin Show. I'll put her on. And you know what? That guy from my dream of Jeannie. He'd be a funny, funny neighbor. Wanted to. So there I am. And my whole first week, I tried to, you know, give an impression of a person was conscious because I kept thinking, they're going go, huh?

Interviewer: Faker.

Marcia Wallace: Yeah.

Interviewer: Actually, I don't know. Bob was telling me that he thought that Caylee had been home with his wife and his wife, was it Mrs. Bailey?

Marcia Wallace: You know what it could have been. I don't know if it was the Mrs. or the Mr.. But either one, the police are tops and taps with me. I was always told that it was him. It was one of those magic nights, you know, where I was on a talk show, which I'd done dozens. But I was on with like eight starlets, of which I am so not one. And if you're going to you know, if anything you can do to kind of stand out. And everything I said was so different from the starlets who were talking about life and love and her. And I said, oh, Merv, I'm just trying to get somebody to take me bowling. So the next thing I know, I've got this unbelievable gig and was part of the day.

Interviewer: Oh, my gosh. I'm with Bob Newhart.

Marcia Wallace: Yes. And I had I, I said, Bob, you know, on my way over here, we all had a getting to know each other lunch. And I said, Bob, you know, I listen to your your album all the time. In fact, I just had it out today, said, Marcia, you got the job. You don't have to listen to my tapes anymore. You don't have to listen my albums anymore. But I love you. And who doesn't? You know, I've always said that Bob Newhart was the Fred Astaire of comedians. He makes it look so easy.

Interviewer: What can you describe is his style, unique style?

Marcia Wallace: Well, he's an original. He's a treasure. He has a way of of, you know, looking at life and people and everything. And there was nobody like him, you know. I mean, there's been plenty of people who've who've used his is whatever it is, he does his off center, his low key, his whatever. There was nobody like Bob. No, I think he's one of a kind. You know, I think in a world of imitation is the real McCoy. I really do. And I think that's why he's still around. Decades later, I think he wears well, I think the show where war well, but because we were an awful good cast. If I do say so myself, we had a lot of chemistry. You know, you've got your room. You've got your you're to fall to a hit. You've got your scripts and you got the chemistry. You scripts you can do something about. You can get better writing, but not chemistry. You either got it or you don't. I mean, look at friends. You either got it or you don't. And we had it. And aren't we lucky? Aren't we lucky?

Interviewer: Do you remember that first filming whatever the first you know, that first week? Tell me about that. And also, I just wonder, because Bob obviously was not a sitcom person who had come from a standup, that.

Marcia Wallace: He was a standup.

Marcia Wallace: I'm sorry. I jumped on.

Marcia Wallace: No, no. You know, the great thing about our show was that Bob would do the standup. I think you did it on Newhart, too. And I'm sure later on, Roseanne. I don't know about some of the other comics who did their own shows, but Bob did it to unwind. So they got a standup like a 50 minute standup and a sitcom and jazz. I mean, this was a hot ticket for the audience. So Bob would come out and introduce everyone. I really was a nervous wreck. I don't know how, you know, they were kind of I mean, when the head of the network says, well, you should hire her. But I was picked by anybody who'd been doing the show. Lorenzo Music had taken me to lunch and said, well, they like you over there at CBS. But I kept thinking and I got no laughs. I got no laughs. I didn't have much to do and I didn't know the setup at all for first time. I didn't know how it worked. It's now it's my favorite and it's ideal for an actor. It's the best job in the world because, you know, it's the best of both worlds you've got. You rehearse. It's like doing a play and get more money. Hello. And so I had been doing it and doing it, and I was still very self-conscious and I kind of was walking into walls because I didn't know the shorthand, the camera, and I'd start to do something and they'd go, I know, hon. No, no, that's not how we do it. And that's in your three camera here. No, no, no. Marcia now come come back. And then I had this line and in front of the audience, I said it. And they screamed and I thought. I am home.

Interviewer: What was it?

Marcia Wallace: Well, if I'd known you were gonna get a mark, if you'd if I'd known you were going to dot, dot, dot, I'd gotten a marching band. It wasn't hilarious. And clearly, the way I've told it, it's a little. You're gonna say. Mm hmm. That was hilarious. But trust me, trust me on this. It it was part timing and part. His lead in and it was it was your basic marching band joke. And they just left for days. And so it was just I thought, this is gonna be just great.

Interviewer: What did Bob, it seem like he was on a learning curve at all because he had never done a sitcom either.

Marcia Wallace: No, Bob, you never seem sweat. You know, Bob, of course, I think once you've done standup and I think he'd done radio and he'd done so much improv and he had had that award winning show, you know, in the 60s, that variety show. And he had done movies. Remember, he was in catch 22 by that time. Most many stand up comedians, many comedians are terrific actors. Terrific, because comedy is highly underrated. And a lot harder to do than it looks. So he he didn't. He actually. He didn't. He just he didn't like to rehearse, which made for some nervousness for some of the guests. We got kind of used to it. But when some of the guest stars would come on and wait, wait, wait. That's it. That's it. What do you mean action? What? Because and he didn't mind going up because he thinks the audience loves that. And he loved the flubs. In fact, he was always. I don't know if Bill told you, but we used to kid Bill that he either was seven words he could pronounce and everything else was sort of like Murguía. But he's also hilarious. But. Bob would be from one side. He'd look perfectly normal. And on Bill's side, the side Bill was looking at. He'd be going. She faces. So he'd crack bill up. And then Bob would go, hey, Bill, come on. Come on. Time's valuable here. So he was very is crafty. Another thing about Bob ism, which sets him apart from many comedians, is he laughs out loud and he listens to other people and doesn't just wait for his turn to be funny.

Interviewer: He's a reactor.

Marcia Wallace: He's a reactor. Is it's it's, you know, got him a very nice house. But as he likes to say, but also he's a great audience and that does set him apart because many funny people that they'll be gone. You'll say something they've got. Yeah, that's funny. So. But Bob would laugh and laugh and laugh,.

Interviewer: Was the show built around that? You think that putting characters corky around him?

Marcia Wallace: Oh, yes, absolutely. Because, you know, his, um, his albums, which always had a person who wasn't there, he was always talking to somebody who wasn't there. So he was reacting and he in his routines. So now we had real people and, you know, it always started. They planned on implementing a phone call. In fact, the first well, all the way through there were phone calls. But in the beginning, there were always a phone call like there used to be. He did all those phone calls in his act.

Interviewer: So that translated well.

Marcia Wallace: That translated, and I thought that would make a very good transition, of course. I'm sure he told you that. It's hard to believe that therapy was kind of an. You know, kind of thing like, oh, Jesus is, too. I don't know if America's ready for this. And but as it turned out that he was a psychiatrist, then he became a psychologist. And, of course, he never cured anybody. But that's OK, because we needed to the laughs better. Let's say he was not right. And people often say there's a funny story. Well, it wasn't at the time in the second year of the year, for reasons that, you know, I had a nervous breakdown and I went to, as I refection only turn at the moon loony bin. Now, of course, in those days, you couldn't talk about stuff like that, please. If this happened today, I'd be on Regis and Kelly by Tuesday with one of the Olsen twins. But in those days, if everybody was unbelievably supportive. So I was in. And the loony bin at UCLA and Ginny, my beloved Ginny Newhart. Bob brought Bob's to come and visit. Now people say, is Bob Newhart really as nice as he seems? This is the definitive Bob Newhart is really as nice as he seems to me. He's trapped in the corner by somebody who is marching to his own drummer, crazy person who keeps telling Bob that he's Abraham Lincoln. And what a lot of people don't realize about Abe was that he was a really, really good dancer. And would he, Bob, like the deaths? And Bob goes. OK, Bob Wood ret. He can't bear to hurt anybody's feelings. Now we we. We grabbed him, you know, we saved him before he got there. But the very fact that he didn't scream, get me out of here now, he did stop when Ginny wanted to take the entire ward home for Thanksgiving dinner. He did say, Ginny, no. But I have seen him be trapped by unbelievably boring people for days. I've seen him at airports. I've seen him and I've seen him with Abe Crazy Abe. Talking about, trying to get him to do the nice waltz. So this is a guy who is yes, he really is as nice as he seems.

Interviewer: What about set to go to the comedy is not as easy as it looks. You could talk about Bob because he's so understated.

Marcia Wallace: Well I think he is and I think. I think he does make it look so easy. My Fred Astaire of comedy. Well, you know, that apocryphal story is dying hard, but not as hard as comedy. And they it almost never gets awards. Everybody thinks they're funny, eh? And therefore, you know, it's like, well, it's not that hard. I could do that. They give awards to beautiful women who make themselves look ugly. Which seems to correspond with great acting, which I don't mean to minimize that, but. You know, or drama chew up, most funny people can do drama. Not all people who do drama can do comedy. Comedy is the hard part. And I think it will be always underrated and I think it will never get the awards. It's just incredibly hard to do.

Interviewer: In fact Bob recently did I dont know if you saw the ER episode?

Marcia Wallace: Yes. Wasn't it wonderful?

Interviewer: Yeah. You could talk about.

Marcia Wallace: Yeah. Because Bob. Well, Bob's a wonderful actor. I remember. I mean, in and out as one of my very favorite movies. And, you know, he was it was a major, major, major and in No Catch 22. And he was in a show that I had seen a movie that I had seen that was done and filmed in my hometown of Creston, Iowa, called Cold Turkey. I believe he was in that. But look at him in E.R.. Look how well it transcends and how incredibly moving he was. He would definitely pooh-pooh that he was a good actor, but he's a terrific actor. Terrific actor. But Bob likes spontaneity and he likes to get in and out, so probably he probably turns down a lot of movies because sitting around waiting for your close up, Mr. de Mello, is probably not. That's not what, you know, comics do.

Interviewer: What else was you mentioned there, the fact that it was about a psychologist was kind of groundbreaking for the time being, what other ways do you think that?

Marcia Wallace: Well, you know, I if I had my little part there prior to that, there had been some very funny women on television, but many of them were kind of desperately looking for men type of characters. I'll take them if they're breathing type of thing. And even though Carol was incredibly competent, she kept that little thing moving and she had life. Sometimes she had a guy, sometimes she didn't, but she had a life. And I thought that was in its own little way. Now, look, we are because it was it reflected the. I don't know the essence of Bob, which was very lucky in its own way and not in your face. I think that's part of the reason it wears very, very well and. So we don't we're not thought of as a ground breaking show, but in many ways we have held up better or as well or better than a lot of the other shows because it was about relationships and and connections and. I of course, I, Carol, was kind of a I'd like to think of myself as a Titian haired temptress. Nobody ever noticed, but I was kind of your basic tramp. And I ran off with Bill Daley to Canton, Ohio, had a little fling with Mr. Carlin, had a little fling with Jerry, had a oh, I had several the fling before I met Larry Bond, Durans, the travel agent.

Interviewer: And also, it wasn't just you, though, I'm thinking to that way. Bob and Emily, that relationship was pretty new.

Marcia Wallace: It was very near now. You know, Bob. Did he tell you that he had said no kids, no kids and no.

Interviewer: Tell me that.

Marcia Wallace: Yeah, he said he just felt and that was a grown up thing, too. I mean, now there's no such thing as a show without kids. But he wanted to do a show about grownups and their foibles and their all the crazy things they get into. And there were enough funny people in the group and everything. But he even though he's a family man extraordinaire and has four kids and loves them and worships them, he had always said no kids. So they had a very interesting. You know, she was a working woman. She spoke her mind. She was hot. You know, in Bob's Cool. And they were they were really good. When I first heard this, AMPA said, I thought, holy Toledo, some movie star. Movie star and Susy's one of the great dames, you know. She was she is a body funny, generous, fabulous girl. In fact. Probably not so much anymore. But there was a time when when I was famous on the gag reel because I had said. The effort on the gag reel, and she was furious. It's a matter with you. I should be saying that I should be known for that. It was one of those. To this day, I'm not ever anyone who swears in front of nuns and goes, I never make it. But for some reason, Bob said to me, Carol, why don't you tell him how you feel? And my line was because Bob on one lost this thing up. And I was playing my intention, but you can imagine what I said instead. And there was this what was like 10 minutes seemed like 10 minutes where every nobody breathe. This was in the 70s, remember? And people just how old? And then they laughed and Bob was gone. And Bob laughed, and every time we got to the same place, it took us almost the whole night to get through it.

Interviewer: What other kinds of things would crack him up?

Marcia Wallace: Well, Bob, one of my favorite Bob stories is. I used to bring my dog Maggie to work, and Bob was very supportive of writers. And he loved the riders and he doesn't, you know, I mean, this staff sets the pace. And it was so that's why it was such a wonderful place to work. But every once in a while, he wouldn't be crazy about a line. And my dog was so old by them and all she did was eat, sleep and yawn. So there'd be a line that he wouldn't love, you know, so he'd go on over and he'd get down. You'd say the line to Maggie and she'd invariably yawn in his face and Bob would go see told ya! Told ya! Darn dog doesn't think it's funny.

Interviewer: Subtle.

Marcia Wallace: Yeah, I think the thing that one of the things that set us apart, along with the rest of the shows on. Saturday night, you know, we'll never see the likes of this again. People had one TV, three channels. Part of the reason that I think people think so fondly of our show and Mary show and other shows they watched as a family. It was a ritual. You know, now there are 7000 channels. Six hundred and six thousand ninety nine. You don't even want to watch. People can afford a TV in every room. It's a different it was a different time then. And you weren't under the pressure to do you you didn't have to deliver in the first week. You know, they gave you a minute to find an audience. And it was a different time and a wonderful experience. We were never under the gun.

Interviewer: Were shows changing, you think, at that time.

Marcia Wallace: Well, they certainly had gotten. I mean, you know, all in the family was a real groundbreaker. Mary was a groundbreaker because a single woman. Now they want to make her divorced and wouldn't allow that. The role of women in television was changing the roles of women, certainly in how they perceived and how are they. They were presented and couples like Bob and Susie and politically, certainly all in the family.

Interviewer: Comedy geared more towards adults.

Marcia Wallace: Yeah. At that time, it certainly was. And. You know, handled all sorts of. Experiences, and it was it was a they. There's a golden age every time I turn around. But for me, this was what it was part of the culture. We were part of the culture of the 70s. People talked about the Saturday night lineup and they knew what you were talking about.

Interviewer: Were there favorite kinds of situations. Just for you personally, as a viewer, even though you would love to see Bob.

Marcia Wallace: I loved when he tried not to crack himself up. That was it. It was a show her that a woman. She went into show business and she was 80. I think she was 90 by then. And you could send two kids to college in the time it took her to finish her lines. And he tried so hard not to laugh. He's going, huh huh. And finally, she was her fault. Her line was, well, I'm all drained. What do we do? It was it was he made you laugh all the time and it wasn't. And oddly enough, even with going up, we were in and out of there by nine or nine thirty. It was a show that and Bob was taking us out to dinner. He's also well, he is an incredibly generous guy. Look, he would be incredibly embarrassed if if I told some of these stories. But my husband died. Well, about 10 years ago, and we were really struggling and he gave us a benefit and he. Well, first of all, he performed at my wedding. I was married at the Buddhist temple in Cucamonga, California. And the reception was a long speech. But I've got up there and said I love a traditional cook among the Long Beach wedding. You said every Sunday, Ginny and I get up, we say, well, what did what do you think we got to cook among us? We go to Long Beach. He was just unbelievably generous. And my niece, who had cerebral palsy, he and Ginny. Hooked her up with us a special. Hospital. She was able to get treatment after Danny died and I was struggling so much. He agreed to go on the Murphy Brown Show with me, which I was. It was just a thrilling night. You know, I was honest. Murphy Brown, 66, secretary, her favorite one up till that point. And then Bob comes on and snaps me off, you know, takes me away. Bob needed this like he needed an accordion. But he did it and he gave me his salary. And his generosity is staggering. He just quietly and he would never, ever, ever want me to set any of this but tough. It's about him. So we get to right.

Interviewer: And what about his relationship with with Ginny? Is it at all similar to the Bob and Emily thing with that?

Marcia Wallace: Well, Ginny has never except. Susie was a career woman, and she had, you know, she was a teacher and she had other things and they didn't have kids. Ginny raised four kids and raised them very well. She traveled with Bob. She's Bob's muse. Ginny, I'm sure he told you, was Ginny's idea for the. Closing show of the new Newhart, which they laughed. When they saw the they they applauded the sheets. You remember when that came on, they applauded the sheets. That's what kind of a. A moment it was people when people can make that, when there are genuine surprises and you you go. First, we've got to wait. That's their old bed. Wait, that's the old wait, that's Suzanne. Wait. Oh, oh, oh, this is great. And it's one of the great moments in television history. And my understanding, I'm I'm sure Bob told her was it that was Ginnie's idea. So, Ginny, I adore Ginny.

Interviewer: He'd have his family on the set and stuff?

Marcia Wallace: Oh, she came to every single cell. She and Tommy Gallagher played Rummy CEO backstage. She used to travel with him to Vegas and everything for years and years and years. But then I think after the third or fourth kid. She didn't and then he wasn't on the road for a while, and then he. You know, the two shows were almost two decades. But she is like his partner, his love. His wife, he's in he's a really, really a real honest to gosh family man.

Interviewer: What else was in terms of working with him on set? Would he how else would he would you see his involvement in terms of creating the show? Would he?

Marcia Wallace: He would, but not like other other people, I mean, now, you know, everybody gets a credit it executive producer. I'm not sure Bob would have even wanted that. Bob. You know, we were the second MTM show and Grant Tinker. He always said, I hire people who are really good and I let them do their job. And we always had terrific producers and writers. I'm not saying I mean or over six or seven years, of course, there's gonna be classes and Bob but Bob would never throw a fit. He would never embarrass anyone. He would use humor sometimes. Basically, he would just. So, no, he didn't. I don't think he wanted to stay after, you know, like people sometimes stay up all night and sit with the writers. But also, he would never, ever demean anyone or say this is no good or he was he was too respectful of the creative process. Plus, he's a writer. He's a writer, but he was. He really felt that it was a very good show and that by and large, very good scripts. And in fact, he speaks about it now. We all do. We knew it was good, but now we think, holy Toledo, it really was good. So he would you know, we would sit around and tell stories and. Not just Bob. Bob doesn't hold court. As many stars and many comedians do, that's another thing that makes him so special. I like him, you know.

Interviewer: I spoke with his wife a little bit and she was saying that he did make things know so you can feel everything look easy. But many people didn't realize how much he agonized over the shows and how to make sure they were good. Did you ever see that?

Marcia Wallace: Not not in front of any of us. If he was concerned about something, he would have gone to the people who could have changed it. You know, like I say, he would never, ever throw a fit or or demean or embarrass anyone in front of them. But yeah, of course, he cared deeply. He absolutely did. And I think sometimes it's hard. Maybe it's Bob is is somebody that is you know, he doesn't always talk personally. He's a private guy. And he was closer to some producers than others. And. You know, but I don't mean to indicate for a minute that he didn't care, he cared deeply, but he took care of it in his own way.

Interviewer: Let's talk about towards the end of the run. If you could tell me how long the series was on. And.

Marcia Wallace: It was only on six years. And he wants to quit when he was ahead and he has said since that he wish he. He knows he could have gone on, but he felt strongly that he wonders, you know, stopped when. But, you know, comics have a short attention span, too. And he thought, well, maybe we'll do that, do some male surrogate go back to Vegas or I'll start doing this or maybe I'll do movies or anything. I think. I think we could have gone on. And I wish we had because low the best job in the world. Well, as a TV guide did the 100 funniest episodes of all time and Newhart shows and tell them. One of those, you know, everybody's favorite TV, Newhart Show, supposedly, that when all guys get drunk on Thanksgiving, the move to Google. My favorite is when Bob counsels prisoners at Joliet. And one of them escapes and comes and holds them all up and holds them hostage. I think Henry Winkler was in that several people, John Ritter started there handily. Henry Winkler, Lonnie Anderson, Rhasaan, it was something about. It just made me laugh. Now, that particular show just made me laugh. The idea of Bob being held hostage, you know, somebody sticking a gun in Bob's face. And Suzanne didn't take it well, she said, put that down. And Bill Daley sees everybody, you know, with their hands up against the wall. Come, Senators. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. It could go any minute. Don't let go. He thinks we're holding up the wall so that, you know, everybody got to be just hilarious. So I'm sure everybody's favorite show is something different. I know. I don't know. Bob was saying the other night. Oh, he probably told you. Another one from the first season, which they're coming out on DVD. You know. He got sandbagged by a talk show host. This was this was ahead of its time, too. You know, she said, Oh, Dr. Hartley, I'm so happy you're here. And, oh, this such an important show and we're gonna make you comfortable. And then she turned around to say, you've never cured anybody, have you, Doctor? And of course, Bob gets to do all his Bob onis cause he gets creamed. He's just, you know, it's like. And he was saying that that maybe hit one of its one of his favorites. And he was hilarious on it because it got he got it fun for. He got to talk. He got to be mad. He got to. And he is so expressive, as you know. I mean there's Bob doesn't need words. Not to be rude.

Interviewer: Right that's so classic.

Marcia Wallace: It's a classic Bob Newhart.

Interviewer: OK. You were just talking about the other episode you did. Could he did he have a way of making lines funny or just.

Marcia Wallace: Yes, he did, and he did. Oddly enough, Bob, well, there was a certain amount of ad libbing during the week and you certainly can do that. And Bob did plenty. But he really trusted the writers and of course, most of the people who wrote there wrote very well for him, like I say, in the first years. So they they actually work in some of his routines and everything. But it was a very, very. Non tense atmosphere was loose, it was fun. They were very. And, you know, the cameramen were great because if I developed over the years certain things, I developed a Carol laugh like I I'm Edna Krabappel now in my head. I was going, huh? But I had a Carol laugh and sometimes it wasn't in until I like many times we would respond to each other and then somebody would laugh or say something and the cameras kept rolling. So many of those things got in. And they would change lines sometimes. That's the thing that's hard for some people who like to know their their lines and keep them in some sitcoms. They'll change right up until the very end.

Interviewer: What about his reactions? His blinking?

Marcia Wallace: Yeah. He could blink, cleared his throat. He stuttered. I mean, he is the king of. Stammers Mrs. Mrs.. Mr. Carlin. Mr. Carlin.

Interviewer: Why is that so funny?

Marcia Wallace: I don't know. So he's got it. What can I tell you? Did he talk about the high Bob game? No, I don't think he's too thrilled about that. He says, oh, God, I'm Sociedad with with college alcoholism. But it was the first in the eighties. We were on first run in the 70s. Then in the 80s, it ran the entire 80s in syndication and it was off and on around four thirty in the afternoon. And because people were always saying, Bob, I was saying, hi, Bob, it's for you, Bob. Hello, Bob. Bob, Bob. Every time somebody said Bob, they'd have to take a drink. So became kind of famous, called the Bob Drinking Game, and Bob rolls his eyes. Oh, goody. Just what I want to be famous for. Drunk college students. Now, buddy. But again, part of the culture, we've somehow. And just because we said, Bob, so much, it shows do it still.

Interviewer: Even later.

Marcia Wallace: Yeah, it is. It was college kids and then, of course, in the 90s with Nick at Nite. And then we just won the Icon Award for TV.

Interviewer: Why do you think the show is so timeless?

Marcia Wallace: Mainly because of him. He wears well, he wears better than anybody. Because it wasn't something terribly dated about it. You know, human relationships will always be around and people struggling to make them work and nosy next door neighbors and people that drive me crazy and people trying to make their life better. It was kind of timeless themes. I think that's a plus. When you watch something years, lady, it's it doesn't dated, except, of course, for my. Well, I used to. It was so funny. That girl wears too short of skirts. When when when I first started out, they were going to make a statement. I was gonna be kind of like Frederick's of Hollywood, you know, kind of really kind of like tacky. But I was somebody who dressed kind of tacky. We got more mail in the overall scheme of things, how people can sit down, and I suppose I should be kind of grateful now, you know that anybody talked about my legs at all, but they thought it was just shocking. Just shocking. I like to go and visit my. At The Bob Newhart Show to visit my old arms. I had lovely arms before I got perkier, you know. I had lovely arms. Loved him, loved him.

Interviewer: What kind of mail do you remember what kind of mail?

Marcia Wallace: Well, we got pretty mild mail. I used to get. Actually, I suppose it's kind of scary in that in the scheme of what we know now about stockers and everything. I had a guy who used to send me pictures of himself under a tree naked. And I thought, well, this is silly. But that was as lively as it got for me. I guess the tree made it somehow kind of esoteric and I don't think any of us ever got. Really hateful. We just got a lot of mail about my clothes, my skirts.

Interviewer: Did you get it? Do you remember if there was any mail or response to Bob and Emily sharing the bed?

Marcia Wallace: They didn't. It had started to change, I think. I don't believe so. I think by that time there were maybe not, though maybe still. I know Dick Van Dyke, they were still in twin beds, weren't they? And that was just a few years before that. That's that's an interesting question. I don't remember that. I don't think so. But it's so funny because there was there were a lot of scenes in the bed and a lot of very funny scenes in the bed.

Interviewer: Why do you think that was so funny?

Marcia Wallace: I don't know. I don't and Suzanne, design cheats then, you know, in those days, at that point, Suzanne was a chic designer and I think they use some of her own cheats there. So it was just another. You know, we only had so many sets we could use and they'd be eating in bed. They'd be talking in bed, was never very sexual or anything. It was, you know, more winding up the day and talking about things that bothered them,.

Interviewer: Although there was always that.

Marcia Wallace: Yeah, well, like I say, Suzy kind of was hot. Suzy made him you know, she used to call him Iron Lips. I don't know. She told you that? She'd say, here they come. Here they come. Because Bob doesn't want to kiss anybody but his wife. He's very private that way. So we'd come over and we'd grab him and hug you. He'd go. And Susie Susie was always teasing him like that. But I think she did. I think she did give him made the relationship sexier because here's example shattered for Bob Newhart. And you believed it. And it worked. It worked.

Interviewer: Talk about the finale if you would.

Speaker Oh, ours or the. Our finale. I, I just remember sobbing all day, just crying and crying, eating, of course, as I always manage to put a little something away. We continue to see each other over the years. You know, it's been 30 years since I went on the air, which I can hardly believe it. But like I say, we read each other's. We were at weddings and. Funerals. You know, Lorenzo music died and Mary Fran, of course, who is. But I guess it was my job to set up lunches. We had lunch every couple of months for. Ten years, I bet. And then excuse me, I got a life. I got a life. I got married. I got things I travel by. So then. But somehow I always speak to Suzy on the phone. I've worked for Peter several times. I've worked for my old husband, that Will Mackenzie. I see Jack a lot because we. Riley, Mr. Carlin because we both do. We do voiceovers and stuff. And I would say not a year, certainly not a year has gone by that we haven't seen each other.

Interviewer: Can you tell me more about that day of shooting the finale and just. Describe the scene.

Marcia Wallace: Well, it's it's every bit as moving as.

Interviewer: Start over again. I'm sorry.

Marcia Wallace: It's every bit as moving as you would think it would have been. We knew it was coming.

Speaker Let's see, I. There they left it open as two other. I think Bob was going to go teach in Iowa. Was in Iowa. Oregon. Oregon. Thank you. I knew that I was testing you. And I went to work for somebody else, and I don't think Mr. Carlin got cured. But they they kind of tied it up a little bit, but they left, left it open. I think we should have a reunion one of these days. And then we got through it and then. Ladies and gentlemen. Guests of The Bob Newhart Show. And then they had a big cake and they had champagne, and then we all went out to dinner and it was just very moving. We all knew what a great gig it had been. We all had the good sense to know it. I mean, now people get in this. It's the best job in the world for an actor, especially the great hours, the great tap. It's it's great. And these people that get on these sitcoms and then one off, I just want to smack them. You don't know how lucky you are.

Interviewer: What was Bob like.

Speaker Bob for Bob was, you know, pretty lowkey. He's not he's not going to get real emotional. I think at that point he felt strongly that he had done the right thing. I think later on he worried he he began thinking that maybe he pulled the plug a little soon. But, of course, you know. So I say in my book, don't look back. We're not going that way. So I think he really a. Later on, regrets probably too strong a word, but I know he's very, very proud of our show. Very proud of it.

Interviewer: I know he's not emotional that way. But was there any sense that you could tell that he was moved.

Marcia Wallace: Yes. Yes, absolutely. But, you know, you'd have to really look at him. You know, he he did his usual stand up and then he introduced us all and we hugged and there was a lot of people hugging him. A lot of people hugging him. He probably had just way too many people hugging him that day. We were hugging up a storm and he's very fond of us and we adore him. Mean, he had known Billy for years. You know, he'd known Jack Riley. He got to be very close to Peter. We got we got the best of Bob Newhart. You know, I mean, he was he was our guy, our leader.

Interviewer: And what about his. Excuse me? Series after that? Can you talk about that at all?

Marcia Wallace: Well, you know, I thought it was terrific. I always got a little pang whenever I watched it because it made me realize how much I missed doing ours. I mean, they had him. And people loved it. I'm partial to the Bob Newhart Show. Let's talk about the rarity. What are the chances? I mean, he always says Lucy did, but not like he did it. What are the chances of having being on two decades in the top 10, practically of the top 20, at least two decades and a. That 60 show he got an Emmy for. But he had two decades of I guess I'm not sure Lucy lasted that long, really, but she he always says when I say that, he said, Oh, Marshall, I think Lucy did.

Interviewer: Why do you think he's won?

Marcia Wallace: I think he wears unbelievably well, I think America loves him and they're right. They're right. He makes people laugh. He doesn't have. He has no malice. He has no it's not ever at anybody's expense. He just is a guy. You know. Trying to get through life. And he just is terribly, terribly funny. You know, we when we were on Mary Tyler Moore unit and I don't want to do sour grapes because he was never, you know. Yeah, you never got an Emmy. And I think that's despicable. But Mary was cutting edge, more cutting edge. We were just quietly funny. Certainly, I think he went on to set the pace for comedians who had their own sitcoms, which there have been a ton of. I mean, Dick Van Dyke. I'm not sure he did sitcoms, but Bob, they've gone on to be just a ton of sitcoms.

Interviewer: Why do you think that was that he was never nominated?

Marcia Wallace: I don't know. I think it was a major oversight. It was during a time of shows that were supposedly really new and edgy, in a word. I'm getting tired of answer. But, you know, MASH certainly was brilliant and All in Family was groundbreaking. And so we were just quietly funny. But we've held up as well, if not better, than some of those shows. And I don't need to. Bob doesn't need me to toot his horn. I just think he's a little bit underestimated. I'm sure he doesn't feel that way. I feel that he is isn't is a treasure. I think he is an icon. He's an American treasure. And it was no accident that, you know, they gave him the Mark Twain Award. He's he's a chronicler. He's a. His eye, what he sees and what he observes. He's one of a kind and I think. One hundred years down the line, we better be remembered. Bob Newhart, because he passed through and he made it, made us laugh.

Interviewer: You say the show was quietly funny, is that a reflection of themselves?

Interviewer: I don't know. I know he's very proud of it. We all are. But in terms of I always thought it seems it seems really just crazy to me that Bob was never gonna know. An Emmy. Bob Newhart, for God's sake. That's true, but you never know, you know. What was a West Side story, never got to Tony Gypsie never got it, Tony. There's been Carey Grant, never got an Academy Award. So Bob is doing just fine. But I always thought it was kind of a no no. I don't know how it happened. I thought it was kind of an oversight.

Speaker Well as you said, he's in good company.

Marcia Wallace: Yes he is in good company.

Interviewer: Well, thank you so much.

Marcia Wallace: Sure.

Interviewer: Wonderful.

Marcia Wallace: Oh, thanks.

Interviewer: Marcia Wllace. Room tone. 10 seconds.

Marcia Wallace
Interview Date:
2005-03-23
Runtime:
0:47:04
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-k06ww77k8k, cpb-aacip-504-057cr5ns8t
MLA CITATIONS:
"Marcia Wallace, Bob Newhart: Unbuttoned." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 23 Mar. 2005, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/487
APA CITATIONS:
(2005, March 23). Marcia Wallace, Bob Newhart: Unbuttoned. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/487
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Marcia Wallace, Bob Newhart: Unbuttoned." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). March 23, 2005. Accessed May 20, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/487

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