- Ho Ho Ho
hope you're all feeling the holiday spirit and finding joy in this
poor crazy world of ours... that's what I'm tryin to do...
wanted to say a few quick things for those of you who may be
Lately, I have been posting answers to questions
you've been asking me in the guestbook. There are lots of
"mini mumy posts" (sounds like a cereal!) in the guestbook and you
might try scrolling through the back pages to check on them.
I'll re-answer the most commonly asked recent question now though...
Since the sad passing of Jonathan Harris last month, the
proposed NBC "Lost in Space" movie of the week has been
cancelled. I've been told by my friend in charge of it all,
Kevin Burns, that there will be a re-write of the script and he will
continue to shop it to other networks. But as of now that is a
non-happening project. We all had hoped to see it become a reality,
but... that's showbiz. You never know... it might still
I hope some of you caught the brand new "Twilight
Zone" story I wrote a few weeks ago. "Found and Lost" aired on
November 25th... The same night as Jonathan Harris' A&E
Speaking of Biography I've been quite busy
narrating them and in fact, have to cut this update short because
I'm due in the recording studio in 34 minutes to narrate "The
I've been enjoying gigging with my acoustic ensemble
and have been talking to the Jenerators about going into the studio
and making gig plans for next year. I hope to make a lot of
different music in 2003, on stage and in the studio. Barnes
and Barnes are even talking about making a new album soon! (again!)
This year, like so many others, has been good for the Mumy
family.. I hope you guys have seen my daughter Liliana co-starring
in Disney's "The Santa Clause 2" feature. If not... get out and see
it! It's a fine fun family film and she's fantastic in it, if
I do say so myself. She's a busy little working actress these days.
Look for her as a recurring character, "Rachel" in "My Wife and
Kids". She's filming her 4th episode of that comedy series next
Well, I must dash off to work. I'll be back with new
updates next year. In the meantime, I will continue to answer your
questions as often as possible with short posts in the guestbook.
I don't need to remind you what a fragile and frightening world
we're on these days... Please send it and those on it thoughts of
love and peace. It can't hurt! Count your blessings and
do your bit to help those who need it. Good for you. Good for
I wish you all peaceful, healthy, happy holidays.
"...War is over if you want it. War is
over now." John Lennon
Harris passed away on November 2, 2002. His funeral was held at
the Westwood Memorial cemetery on November 4th. I delivered the
following eulogy there.
was 11 years old when I first met Jonathan on July 19th, 1965. And
for three years he and I worked almost everyday together on Lost in
Space. Alongside Bob May in the Robot suit we quickly developed
into a successful TV team. And 37 years later, for better or worse, both
Jonathan and I are best remembered for the work we did during those 3
I'm here today to tell you without any doubt that he
absolutely loved that experience. And so did I. Every minute
of it. Jonathan loved creating the character of Dr. Smith, and
make no mistake about it… HE created that character. It was
Jonathan who turned the black and white one-dimensional villain of Dr.
Smith that was on the page into the wonderful, humorous, cowardly,
selfish, dangerous, yet also lovable character we all remember. It
was Jonathan who created the wonderful alliterative insults that Smith
spat at the Robot week after week.
I would memorize my lines and then
prepare to rehearse with Jonathan, but he'd call me into his dressing
room and tell me that he'd re-written all of the scenes we were
scheduled to shoot that day. He'd boldly X'd out his
dialogue as written by Peter Packer or Barney Slater or whoever had
penned that week's episode, and reworked it. And most importantly, he
Jonathan loved to hold court on the Lost in Space sets
at 20th. Everyday that we filmed Lost in Space was a day that
Jonathan brought a treat for the entire cast and crew. Bubble
gum…tootsie roll pops… just a little sweet treat for after lunch… but it
was a consistent ritual. Not a day
passed without it.
Thirty years later, we had the wonderful
experience of returning to those roles in a television special that I
was fortunate enough to co-produce and co-write with Kevin Burns, who of
course directed it. I really wanted to please Jonathan, and I had
worked very hard writing the scene where Dr. Smith, the Robot and Will
Robinson are reunited on the Jupiter 2. And, just like in the old days,
when we showed up to film it, Jonathan had X'd out his lines and
re-structured and re-written them. And, also just like in the old days…
he improved them. No one knew the character of Dr. Smith better
than Jonathan. And no one loved that character better than
I learned a lot about the business from
him. I remember wanting to do the "Will" stunts for myself on the
show… they weren't serious stunts, I was maybe 13 and totally into it…
but he took me aside and said, " Billy Person," (he always called me
that) And I said "Yes, Himself?" (I always called him that)… "Never deny
a stuntman a paycheck." And he was right. Years later I heard his
wise words echo in my head several times when I was asked to do some
stunts that were a little risky, and I always deferred to the
stuntmen. He used to tell me, "Don't GIVE it away, Billy
Person…" Referring to requests for interview shows and
testimonials for companies that had deep pockets but didn't want
to spend any of it on talent. But you know, when it came to
friends… Jonathan didn't heed his own advice. He DID give it away.
was producing a direct to video project in the late 1980's, and even
though Jonathan and I didn't socialize much in those days, I called and
asked him to do an on camera scene for it… He showed up… He was
wonderful, of course, and… he wouldn't take a penny. He did the
same thing for Kevin Burns when we were filming "The Fantasy Worlds of
Irwin Allen". I had suggested Jonathan show up and do a cameo in
character at the very end to "button" the show. He agreed to do
it… for nothing. As a favor to Kevin. He did indeed give it
away. When it was for his friends.
When it came to
friends… Jonathan not only talked the talk, he walked the walk.
When my father passed away 7 years ago, Jonathan was there on a hot
August day to attend his funeral… When my mother was in the hospital he
called me several times a week to check on her, "She's a tough cookie,
that old broad. She'll be fine, Billy Person, you'll see." Always
offering positive words. He loved my children, Seth and Liliana,
and he doted on them whenever he saw them. I'm so grateful that my
wife Eileen and I got to spend several evenings in recent years enjoying
wonderful meals in classy restaurants with Jonathan and his beautiful
wife of 64 years, Gertrude. (Although he indeed usually found some fault
with something on the menu or the service and made no bones about
letting it be known!)
No matter how many times I would hear his
stories they always were told with such gusto that I was freshly
entertained each time.
Jonathan's "Dr. Zachary Smith" will certainly
live on forever in syndication, on video tapes, on DVD discs and in other yet to be invented technical
formats… but the memory of Jonathan Harris, my friend, my teacher, will
definitely live on forever even stronger in my heart.
- The sky is
clearing and the night has cried enough
- The sun he
comes the world to soften up
rejoice, we have no choice but to carry on
- "Carry On"
Hi there, Mumy
I know it's been quite awhile since the last update, sorry
about that. I haven't felt like I really had very much of interest
to share, although as usual I've been quite busy.
wise, I've been narrating a lot of Biographies and TVographies for
A&E, I did a guest character voice for Warner Bros. Animation on an
episode of "Scooby Doo" that was a lot of fun. I worked with my friend
Terri Garr and Casey Kasem and several other talented actors recording
our parts "live" like a play. I've also done several new "Farmer's
Insurance" commercials recently. Barnes and Barnes are taping an
on camera "Fish Heads" interview for V-1's "One Hit Wonders" series in a
few days, and I'm not sure how that will turn out...
have been gigging a lot. The highlights of our recent gigs have
been on the road opening for my pals "America". If you were at
these gigs you know how much fun they were. If you weren't... trust me,
they were fun. We're also playing our "standing" monthly gigs at
Rusty's Surf Ranch on the Santa Monica Pier which are always fun and you
never know who's gonna show up to jam with us. Shaun Cassidy and Steve
Lukather are among those who often get onstage with us. If you're in LA
when we're gigging, stop by and check it out. Upcoming gigs are always
posted on the homepage here and there's a page full of
new photographs from recent gigs in the
Musically, I've put together a second band to play
acoustic music found on my four solo CD's. and we've been gigging here
at a very nice folky club in Hollywood called Genghis Cohen. Bryan
Garafalo is on bass and harmony vocals, for those of you music buffs out
there, amongst his long list of credits Bryan played bass with Glenn
Frey's solo band for 18 years. Chris Ross from the Jenerators is
playing percussion and keeping the groove with some very interesting
instruments, and Michael Starr (no relation to Ringo) is playing violin,
mandolin, dobra, and guitar. Me, I'm playing acoustic guitar,
harmonica and a little dobra. It's a lot of fun to be able to play
these songs live. We're also playing a few brand new songs in our
Personally, the summer's brought both joyful and sorrowful
times. My kids are happy and healthy and have been enjoying their
time out of school. Both of them have been doing some acting projects.
Seth recently did a voice over for a Harry Potter commercial, and he's
been making his own movies on a consumer digital camera. Liliana's been
working in commercials and television. She recently did an episode of
"Strong Medicine" for the Lifetime network as well as a two part "My
Wife and Kids" which filmed in Hawaii. Her Dell computer and
MacDonald's commercials are running all the time. Remember to look for
her in "The Santa Clause 2" Disney film this winter.
dear friend Rosemary Clooney passed away this summer. I will
cherish the memories of our 30 year friendship. And Eileen's
father passed away recently and she and I just returned from
Michigan. Losing a parent is never easy. I was thankful I
could be there for my wife and her family. Her father was a very
good man. Happily, my mother turned 90 last month and she's doing
Otherwise, my many other projects continue to inch forward at
their own pace... the novel, the pilot scripts, the Lost in Space NBC
movie of the week, etc... all of them are still "in the game".
like to note that some of you may have noticed the guestbook here was
"closed" for repairs recently. As I've posted in it several times over
the past few months, I don't mind "creative" posts that get a little
"out there", but when it becomes a pornographic and profane wasteland
then... it's not what I want it to be. Also, someone was
continuously posing as me in those pages, and I won't stand for that.
So, it's up to you guys... a few bad apples can indeed spoil the
bunch. The guestbook here is open for business once again and I
hope it can be a fun and interesting place for all of us. However, it's
on "probation". If it falls back into the gutter, then I will
simply close it for good. Okay, nuff said about that.
beautiful planet of ours has certainly been tested to the max.
Sometimes I can only shake my head and hope for the best. Seems
like forces way beyond anyone's control have been kicking the chaos ball
around in every arena of reality, doesn't it? Wouldn't it be nice
to live in a flourishing, healthy, peaceful world? The ancient
Hawaiian religion of Huna had a basic philosophy; "if you hurt no one,
you've done nothing wrong".
Laurel Canyon, CA
"I'm a cork on the ocean floating over the raging
sea, how deep is the ocean?"
Brian Wilson " 'Til I
Alrighty then everybody sing to that Rocky Horror melody...
"Let's do the update again..."
Lately in my world things
have been going swell. Everyone's healthy and doin' great. It's
spring break now, and the weather in Los Angeles has been gorgeous. I was
gardening yesterday and the backyard is blooming brightly. My son Seth's
report card arrived a few days ago and it was excellent! Now he
beats me in one on one basketball all the time ... (which is great for
him... not necessarily for me) Seth is also doing voice over work and has
recently done several spots for both Disney and Universal Studios.
Liliana with Tim Allen on 'Santa Claus
My daughter, Liliana has entered the
world of showbiz and has taken to it with a passion that reminds me of how
I was at her age. You may have seen her in recent episodes of NBC's
"Scrubs" and FOX's "That 70's Show" or on a "MacDonald's", "Sears" ,
"Hasbro" or "Novell" commercial. She and my wife Eileen recently
flew up to Vancouver for a month to work on a wonderful feature
film. Liliana is co-starring with Tim Allen in the upcoming DIsney
film "The Santa Clause 2" which is due out in November of this year.
She has a nice part and really enjoyed being in front of the camera.
She's standing here with me right now and here's what
she has to say to you all about her recent acting experience: "I liked
experiencing going to Vancouver and making a movie. I made a lot of
friends in Vancouver. When they called me to the set I raised my
hand and said "I'm coming!" and went as fast as I could. I was a
little nervous at first but then I did it and it was easy. So easy!
I missed my dad and brother but I talked to them on the phone like ten
times a day!"
SO.... make sure to look for Liliana Mumy
in her big screen debut in "The Santa Clause 2" later this year.
My wife Eileen continues to keep everything and everyone at Mumy
Manor together. A week ago she had a "class reunion" dinner of
sorts; for over twelve years Eileen was a workout instructor at "Jane
Fonda's Workout's" here in Beverly Hills and Encino. She eventually ran
the Pregnancy and Recovery Exercise Program there. The Workout
closed over ten years ago, and the people who worked there were scattered
to the wind. Anyway, a bunch of them got together to chat about old
times and share news. Eileen also used to be a working actress, the
theatre was her favorite place to be. I remember her in many onstage
productions and she was a terrific talent. But she gave up the smell
of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd for a more domestic role that
she hasn't regretted. Anyway, she's doin' great.
Me? I've been doin' what I do. I recently have narrated a new
batch of "Biography's" for A & E... You can listen for me telling the
tales on the upcoming two hour special on "James Dean", and regular hour
long episodes on "Ricardo Montalban", "Carolyn Jones" & "Pat
Boone". There's also a long list of other Biography's that I'll be
narrating soon. So, I'm very happy to have that gig as well as
continuing to be the voice of
Insurance'. I know, it's not
visual and it's most likely not nearly as exciting for people out there
watching TV as having foam rubber glued to my face and wearing an
elaborate costume and acting out the role of an angst ridden alien from
another planet for you all to watch... but... that's what I'm doin right
now and it's pretty easy and it's not stressful at all and I enjoy it and
it pays the bills. 'Nuff said.
I'm also writing new songs and performing at least once or twice a
month with the
'Jenerators'. We're adding new
songs to our sets all the time and it's really a pleasure to get onstage
and crank it up and make some live rock n roll happen. Besides that,
I continue to "play the game" and am trying to get my other projects
turned into big-time showbiz realities. But mostly I'm enjoying my
family, my home, my dogs, my friends and music these days. Which is a
great luxury I'm happy to report.
Some of you may have
heard about a possible new "Lost in Space" project. Well, here's the whole
story. NBC has indeed ordered a movie of the week/pilot script. My
good friend Kevin Burns is executive producer and has spearheaded this
project. He's been making "Lost in Space" things happen for a long time
and he's very optimistic and excited about this becoming real. IF it
happens and IF things are properly negotiated and it all works out... I
will indeed be returning to the role of "Will Robinson" in a project that
will not only include the original cast of the series, it will also
introduce a new group of space castaways. That's all I'm going
to say about it now, because as you and I WELL KNOW (alas poor "Overload"
I knew it WELL) the rug can be pulled out from beneath showbiz projects at
ANY moment. You never know what's gonna happen in this crazy
business. But go ahead and cross your fingers that this one happens.
Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!
Now, I've received a few
emails in my guestbook here lately complaining about and offering me
sympathy regarding some of the "wackier" recent guestbook entries... (you
know which ones I mean)...I just want to assure you all that they don't
bother me. Actually, I enjoy them. I find them creative,
informative, and funny. (however, I'm NOT out to encourage
copycats!) Don't forget, my brain is the one that came up with such
lines as "I took a fish head out to see a movie, didn't have to pay to get
it in..." So... a little "left of center", "blue", guestbook stuff ain't
gonna freak me out. No worries there, but thanks for your concern.
And thanks for your guestbook emails, I check the guestbook often.
I keep meaning to write down a list of some of the
questions you folks have asked me in the guestbook, and someday, hopefully
soon, I'll do my best to answer as many as I can. But right now,
I've got to dash to a voice over audition!
SO.. til next
Stay out of the cornfield!
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Laurel Canyon, CA
"There's no time to
lose" I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away."
Jagger & Keith Richards "Ruby Tuesday"
- 'STORMY EILEEN' by BILL
- The dogs are waggin' their tails so everything must be okay.
whole lot of stars beyond the sky... you can see em at night.
It's a big
universe. Makes our problems seem smaller.
Kids still howling with
delight cuz Santa remembered to bring em something to play with they
So, joy is alive and well.
Fish are still
swimmin' so dive in the water's not that bad.
Happy New Year
Yeah, I'm still workin'.
always gonna be this grey. All things must pass."