Excerpt from:  The Amazing Mr. Terrific! interview by Mark Phillips. Outré.


(Webmasters note:  the following is a selected excerpt from this rather lengthy interview -told largely by Stephen Strimpell)

I was always busy, since I personally answered almost every letter which was written to me, rebuked every dismissive critic, tried to re-write scripts, and put in a great deal of time thinking of ways to make of the cartoon I was handed each week, a full, or, at the very least, an almost fully alive character which might be recognized as bearing a passing resemblance to a human being.  Sometimes I succeeded, but not always.

One day, my manager, Ray Smith, called, irate that my "co-star," Dick Gautier (best known as Hymie, the robot secret agent, on Get Smart), had asked his agent to find out what I was being paid, so he could negotiate for the same amount.  It was $2,000 a week.  Ray was surprised when I told him to reveal the amount to Gautier's agent.  To my way of thinking, if he didn't get it, Universal would keep it all.

Dick Gautier was nice enough, I guess.  I never got to know him, but my impression was that the role of second banana didn't sit comfortably on his shoulders.  This was brought home when he appeared frequently on Hollywood Squares, and was repeatedly introduced by his good friend, Peter Marshall, as the wonderful, brilliant, delightful star of Mr. Terrific.  I didn't care.  If I had, I could have made noises and stopped it, but I figured if that's what he needed to feel happy, so be it.

Truthfully, I am very introverted, and do not like appearing in public unless I'm playing a character.  As for Gautier, he finally prevailed, and the "writers" cooked up a script for him in which he was transformed into a pigeon, because he could do an impersonation of a pigeon.  It was no better, certainly no worse, than any other episode, and, at least, I got to sit down for a while.




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