"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
Bill Dana was interviewed for nearly three hours in Los Angeles, CA. Dana talked about growing up in the Depression, his interest in comedy, and his stint as an NBC page. He discussed teaming up for a comedy act with Gene Wood, before joining The Steve Allen Show, where he became head writer. He detailed some of the show's recurring sketches, including "The Question Man" "Man on the Street" and the "Nutley-Hinkley Report." He then chronicled the creation of his famous character, "Jose Jimenez" which began on Allen's show. He described 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 discussed 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 talked about his current work with Emerson College and his creation of the American Comedy Archives. The interview was conducted by Jeff Abraham on February 10, 2007.