The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters

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Dean Martin and Jonathan Winters as Maude Frickert
Photo credit – YouTube.com

Last month our friend from television, Jonathan Winters, passed away. We had the good fortune to work along side him for several years on the Dean Martin Comedy Hour, The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters and several Dean Martin TV specials. He was the master of improvisation and had a great influence on other comedians. Robin Williams was one those comedians who looked up to Jonathan. In a New York Times article, Robin called him, “a madman but angelic.” We think that is a perfect description. Jonathan’s death was a great loss to the world of entertainment. To remember him, we would like to share some memories of Jonathan from our book.

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Dean Martin’s Christmas in California – Photo courtesy of Robyn Whatley, one of Dean’s Golddiggers. Robyn is center next to Jonathan with her arms wrapped around Linda Lavin. With Patti Gribow, Mireille Mathieu & Crystal Gayle (far right)

Excerpts from BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

 “Linda: Our first TV show taping was The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters, a variety show which featured a spot where the comedian would rummage through his ‘attic,’ pick up some random object and do a whole monologue on it. We were on for something like eight shows, we shot two a day.”

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Deborah Pratt

Deborah Pratt, Golddigger 1973-1974:
Jonathan Winters’ mind was just so explosive, he was in his own world. My favorite
part was to come and watch the ending where he would take nothing and make it into fifty things just with the sound effects he did with his mouth while his hands were doing mime.”

 

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Linda (Alberici) Eichberg

Linda: There was not much interaction with Jonathan Winters on the set but our trailers were side by side so I would talk to him outside the soundstage. I had pleasant conversations with him, he was very approachable, very mellow and warm when he wasn’t on stage.

One day when I was talking with Jonathan he invited me into his trailer. If it had been someone else I would have had second thoughts but not with Jonathan. In spite of his zany TV characters he was pretty normal, super nice and very intelligent. We talked about our mutual November birthdays and The Twilight Zone episode he did. I was a big fan of Twilight Zone.
Jonathan was an incredibly talented, funny guy. He invented lots of crazy characters, I adored his old lady character Maude Frickert. Every time he became her, everyone was hysterical with laughter. As Maude he stole every scene he was in. The other guest stars didn’t have a chance except to go with the flow and let whatever happened happen. That’s what was so great about his show, the improvisation and spontaneity.”

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Maria (Alberici) Lauren

 

Maria: Jonathan Winters as Maude Frickert was also a guest on The Dean Martin Comedy Hour. Dean would try to hold his own as Maude flirted shamelessly, his reactions were priceless. One smirk would say it all. Dean was the perfect straight man—although his TV persona could not walk a straight line.”

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Dean Martin, Jonathan Winters and the Golddiggers from Dean Martin’s Christmas in California special.

A favorite Jonathan Winters TV clip is on the YouTube link below, narrated by producer, Greg Garrison. It’s too funny!

 

Our television debut as two of “The Golddiggers” was on The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters show. This YouTube contains a clip of our performance on his show along with a Larry King interview and recent highlights of our entertaining in “Showstoppers.”

Copyright – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

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