The passing of Jonathan Winters has ignited the memory of an encounter I had with him as a child. It was 1956, and my father who was a pioneer in TV syndication represented a childrens show called Romper Room. The whole family accompanied him on a business trip to NYC where my sisters and I obtained tickets to The Tonight Show which was then starring Steve Allen. It was Tuesday night and the guest host was Bill Cullen, and guests that night included Jonathon Winters and Arlene Francis.
An ongoing part of the show was taking questions from the audience. On my fathers business card, I asked if Bill Cullen was ” A Good Do Bee”, referring to the Bee character who asked kids to - ” Do Bee a Good ____”.
When my name was called, I ( wearing a pair of slinky glasses I had bought that day) started to go on stage and was quickly motioned not to.
There was some repartee which I do not remember, but later after a break, the next segment was introduced as the Dennis Spiegelman Show, oops I mean the Tonight show, by Bill Cullen.
In a later segment Jonathan Winters was playing a baseball player doing a razor commercial where he said he was going to use it to cut Dennis Spiegelman’s throat.
Needless to say, my Father enjoyed a brief moment of national exposure for his show, and I obtained a fond childhood memory.
Thanks Jonathan, and Rest In Peace
Also, a few years ago my dad had a booth set up at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Former Lakers center John Salley stopped by the booth and was interested in a World War II bayonet my dad was selling. Salley turned the blade over in his hands a few times, then asked him, “What’s to stop me from just stabbing you with this and taking it for myself?”
Moral of the story: famous people really want to cut my dad.