Monday, June 19, 2017

Bill Dana (1924-2017)

To many, he will be known simply for the Everyman he created, Jose Jimenez. Bill Dana, though, had more going for him than Jimenez, the character he played on his self-titled 1963-5 sitcom, and, before that, on Make Room For Daddy (aka The Danny Thomas Show) and The Steve Allen Show, as well as numerous guest appearances on Hollywood Palace, The Ed Sullivan Show, and so on.

It was Dana who developed the "Would you believe......?" jokes that Don Adams used in his act and, subsequently, Get Smart. Dana also wrote the 1966 animated musical adaptation of Alice in Wonderland for ABC & Hanna-Barbera, and co-wrote "The Return of Maxwell Smart", aka "The Nude Bomb", a theatrical revival of Smart, in 1980.

It came over the wires earlier today that Dana had passed away at 92, leaving behind a lifetime of laughs.

In later years, Dana took part in the Comic Relief specials on HBO, and landed a recurring role on The Golden Girls.

Let's take a trip back in time to The Steve Allen Show for a classic Jose Jimenez skit.

Dana, born William Szathmary, was the brother of composer Irving Szathmary, who wrote the theme music to Smart, perhaps his most famous work.

Rest in peace, Bill.

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