"Bill Dana was Jose Jimenez. The line between was invisible.. I love that character, because he was just so sweet -- there was a Pollyanna aspect to him. That everything's going to be all right. It never was a caricature. He's not a Latin character. He's a universal character."
About This Interview
In his nearly three-hour Archive interview, Bill Dana talks about growing up during the Depression, his interest in comedy, and his stint as an NBC page. He discusses teaming up for a comedy act with Gene Wood, before joining The Steve Allen Show, where he became head writer. He details some of the show's recurring sketches, including "The Question Man" "Man on the Street" and the "Nutley-Hinkley Report." He then chronicles the creation of his famous character, "Jose Jimenez" which began on Allen's show. He describes Jimenez's character's traits, his many appearances, his retirement, the response of the Latino community regarding the character, and the culmination of Jimenez's fame on The Bill Dana Show. He discusses his work as a producer on The Milton Berle Show; his roles on St. Elsewhere and The Golden Girls; and his writing of the famous All in the Family episode, "Sammy's Visit" featuring Sammy Davis Jr. Lastly, he talks about his current work with Emerson College and his creation of the American Comedy Archives. Jeff Abraham conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on February 10, 2007.