However, ever since my post about Ricardo Montalban's passing...I've heard a small voice persistently nagging me in my quiet moments: "Oh, fine. Ricardo gets a nice little tribute. And me? What do I get? Nothing. That's what! Not a crumb! Oh...the pain. The pain..."
Okay, Jonathan. This one's for you...
Long after Freakazoid was cancelled and we all moved on to other projects, my phone would occasionally ring. "Hello, Pauly! Call Johnny! Let's have lunch."
And so we would. John McCann and I would meet Jonathan Harris at Mistral in Studio City. The lunches were always a blast. A little Chardonay, a little food and LOTS of stories. Jonathan could tell a story like nobody's business. And all of them were true. Jonathan occasionally peppered his stories with a modicum of profanity that would make a sailor blush. It was wonderful. Vintage Harris.
I promise director Troy that I won't write about anything we covered in the Season 2 DVD. Suffice to say that Jonathan liked working on Freakazoid. "I love the anarchy," he would say. "Delicious stuff!"
When he was sure that John and I actually knew what we were doing and weren't "network people", he decided to take us under his wing and offer us constant encouragement. Having gone head to head with "network people" for much of his career, Jonathan boiled it all down to this simple phrase. "F#%$ 'EM!"
"Remember this well, my lads," he would say. "We are the artists. They are bean counters. They don't have a F%&#@ing clue!" Jonathan's advice was to always keep on doing what you're doing and if they don't get it. Too bad."
When Freakazoid was slowly cancelled, Jonathan said, "Typical. Just typical! You musn't get downhearted, my lads. Promise me! You musn't let THEM get to you. If you do then THEY have won. And we can't let THEM win." I can still hear the old guy. It's advice I have always kept close.
Not only would we have lunches, but Jonathan would call from time to time to check in and see how it was going. "What are you creating? Is it wonderful?"
When Doug Langdale, John McCann and I were developing the Daffy Duck primetime pilot for the WB, we wrote a part for Jonathan as an insane "network person." Jonathan loved the irony. Sadly, we never got to record it.
When friends threw my wife and I a huge baby shower/party, Jonathan was in attendance. I remember seeing him at one of the tables holding court. I don't mean that in a pejorative sense. When Jonathan held court is was great. But you had to get him started. "Hey, Jonathan. Tell us about Irwin Allen."
He would look at you. Then..."Irwin Allen! IRWIN ALLEN! Let me tell you about IRWIN ALLEN! Why I remember the time..."
Anyway. Jonathan was a great man. A nice man. A caring man.
So, Jonathan. Is that okay? Happy now?
It'll do, Pauly. It'll do.