a candid conversation with









Don with Roy Brown holding a painting of the cast by WGN's Bob Hedberg

DS:  Well yes and no.  I think my fascination and emulation stemmed from Harpo, although the difference is Harpo never pretended to mouth...he usually honked his horn and did a lot of physical stuff.  From the beginning I would pretend to talk but you couldn't hear me.  The only people who could understand me would be the other clowns.

VV:  Sort of a human Garfield Goose!

DS:   You got it.  I never thought of that.  So that's the way I came on.

VV:  What was Sandy's full name?  I've heard over the years everything from Sandy The Tramp, Sandy The Clown, to Sandy The Sad-faced Tramp?

DS:  Well Ned Locke liked Sandy The Tramp.  So I went along with it.  But I prefer Sandy The Clown.  I didn't like the inference.  Hobo was alright but Tramp implied a "no good".  But Ned insisted and I let it go.  It stuck and that's the way it is.  

VV:  I was lucky enough as a kid to meet Bob Bell twice.  He was bigger than life!

DS:  Oh he was great.  And we were always fighting!  We'd been fighting since 1953.  And we'd work together continuously.  Andy Starr of The Odean Theater- I wrote that stuff.  And directed it.

VV:  My favorite times with Andy Starr was when he sat in for Frazier Thomas on Garfield Goose.

DS:  Frazier was a good friend of mine.  When Roy was sick or on vacation I would do the puppetry work.  So I got to know Frazier pretty well from a professional standpoint.

VV:  He took his show very seriously.

DS:  Yes he did.  And he had a great show.  Well done.  I mean for a puppet show which is not an extensive type of production to start with.  He had it down to a science.  Which he never departed from.  The concept, the scheme, the format...

VV:  When Ned Locke retired in 1976, as much as I liked Frazier I felt he was the wrong choice for a replacement.

DS:  He was miscast.  It just didn't make any sense.  But that was the WGN attitude.  They've got Frazier under contract.  What are they going to do with him?  So fill up his time.  Get more out of him.  And they did that with Ray.