Transcript of the interview with actor
Best know for his roles as Captain Merrill Stubing on
and also as Murray Slaughter on
He was recently in Montreal starring in a production of
The interview aired live at 8pm eastern, on Friday, November 18, 1994
It was conducted by Peter Anthony Holder
the evening talk show host on
CJAD 800 AM, Montreal

CJAD: Gavin, it's nice to have you in studio.

GAVIN: Thanks Peter, it's nice to be here.

CJAD: We were just talking off air a little bit about THE LOVE BOAT. I mentioned Vincent Price. The one thing I enjoyed about THE LOVE BOAT, was the opportunity to see a lot of actors that unfortunately Hollywood tends to push for the side. It was grate for that.

GAVIN: It was one of the greatest thrills of my life. Every week we'd get to meet new stars and I just couldn't wait. And Vincent Price, who just died this last year was one of the first big stars we had on THE LOVE BOAT. He used to tell me stories. He was great. I always used to say that he should be declared an American treasure, as many of the other older performers who spent their lives in this business. Vincent Price started out, he was from St. Louis, and he started out, his big thing was ANGEL STREET in New York, when he played the lacivious man who sort of drove his wife crazy. Then he got into pictures and then he travelled extensively in the later years as Oscar Wilde. I went to see his one man performance and he was just fabulous. Anyway, he was just one of the many, many stars that came of the show. People say, "why did you enjoy that show so much?" I said, well number one, it was very, very highly rated at the time it was on. I got to meet some of the biggest stars in show business. I went to my captain's table one morning at 7 o'clock and there was Helen Hayes, Maurice Evans and Mildred Natwick. When I was a little boy, I used to go the theatre to see them. That's one of the reasons I wanted to be an actor, to be like them. And there they were at my table, all talking about how nervous they were, about the lines, and so forth. No matter how big you get, you still have the same kinds of anxieties and so forth. That was one of the main reasons for THE LOVE BOAT. Also we travelled the world and we became, ironically enough, for a show that was called mindless television, goodwill ambassadors for the United States. We had to be very careful on our best behaviour when we went to these other countries. And then I made a living, (laughter). I had a chance to support my wife and my kids. It was a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful program from that point of view. Also, now as a result of that show being on, the cruise industry is just growing all over the place. Princess Cruises, who I now represent, is the fastest growning cruise line in the world. We have nine ships and in the next two years will have ten, eleven and twelve. So things are going very nicely and all because of that program that people thought was mindless and so forth.

CJAD: Now, growing up I was an absolute couch potato, so I watched everything that was on TV. The first time I saw you was on HAWAII FIVE-O, playing a really nasty.....

GAVIN: Well his name was Big Chicken. You talk about the Hollywood casting system. I was doing a play at the time and my agent said they want to see you to play this character. So I went over there and I picked up the script at the place that eventually became where THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW was shot. I picked up the script and it described this guy, Big Chicken, as six- foot-four, thin, with a goatee. And I said, I'm the wrong, I mean, only five-foot-ten and a half and dumpy and no hair!

CJAD: And you were a little heavier then.

GAVIN: I was much heavier then. It was the antithesis of what this character was described as. I said, "I won't have a shot at at this." Anyway, so I got in there and I read for a producer whom I had never seen before, named Joseph Gatman. I finished and he says, "I never knew you could act." I said, "what do you mean?" He says, "I just never knew you could act. I want you to play the part." I said, "but it was described as a big tall guy." He said, "but that was the author." The author who wrote it was John D.F. Black. He described himself as that character. I eventually met him when I went to Hawaii. That was how I got Big Chicken and HAWAII FIVE-O. I went over there, it was the second show they ever shot, so it took awhile. I went over to shoot for six days. It turned out to be ten days, very nicely so. A little money. As a matter of fact, Ricardo Mantalban was the first guest star and they hadn't finished shooting yet and I was supposed to take over his suite, so I had to wait for him to finish shooting so I could get into the suit. But the character was so successful, that first one, that they wrote him again and he came in right at the end of the first year in a show called THE BOX. I was up for the Emmy for that one too. It's interesting, for all the characters I've played, people don't know you until you basically start coming into their rooms week after week like THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW. "Oh Murray Slaughter, wow, what a nice sweet kind of guy." I said, yeah, but you really can get it off on other parts that are really exciting and you can get your teeth into. But people remember, but they don't couldn't play Big Chicken on a series. They wouldn't take him into the house every week. But it's ironic. The most recognition I have gotten as an actor has been out of these lacivious kinds of people that are delicious for actors to play.

CJAD: Are they more fun to play?

GAVIN: Well, they used to be more fun to play when I was younger because....I don't know it's just delicious. I've played heavies for years and years and years. I was bald. I came to Hollywood. I did a play about junk. I was a pusher, so I played pushers for years and years and years. I did war movies and things like that. Finally, Blake Edwards said, "you have a sense of comedy" so I started doing comedies for Blake after I played a lead heavy in PETER GUNN. So anyway, that's how all that stuff started. I don't know, since I'm older, I must tell you, I do enjoy playing nice people. I think there's more longevity. I haven't killed anyone on television in years and years. Must have been twenty something years. I got a call last year from the Aaron Spelling office for BURKE'S LAW. Gene Barry was doing it again. It was in color and Gene is a great guy. He did a lot of LOVE BOATs and I saw him in LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. He is a terrific man. And so they sent me this script, and I said, "there's nothing in this script for me." We're going, going, going and my character is now in a captain's uniform on a boat telling these three pretty women what to do and I thought, "well now that's why they thought about me," because they describe a guy in a captain's suit so they flashed on Stubing right away, but it turns out that he turns out to be the killer. Wow! And there was a wonderful speech at the end. I said, "I think I can do something with the speech that would justify taking this part and the money." And I did and it went very well. We got some very nice statements of recognition out of playing that character. That was really the first and last time I had really knocked anybody off on television in many, many, many years.

CJAD: The long stretch of being nice in two characters, although one character was kind of needling...

GAVIN: Oh yeah, he was great. Well you know, he had to survive. It was tough for him in that newsroom with Ted Baxter getting all the glory and this poor guy doing all the work. Murray worried so much he worried his hair off! I want to tell you that was the greatest group I ever worked with in my life. Mary Tyler Moore and Ed Asner and Teddy and Valerie and Cloris and Georgia, Betty White, I mean, it's once in a life time. Jay Sandrich, as we did our last show...he was our resident director, you know...he said, "I want you to all know, you're never going to have this in a career again. This is something very, very special. You just take it. You're going to put it on top of your bureau, or something and say 'okay THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW,' and then get on to making a living." So I went right from that into THE LOVE BOAT. So for me, I was very, very fortunate. I got another gig that lasted almost ten years.

CJAD: A lot of people from that show, though, got other gigs. It's ironic how well they all did after that particular show.

GAVIN: There's something about THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW. Look at the authors. Look at Jim Brooks and Alan Burns. Alan's writing another movie. My wife just called him the other day about something. And Jim Brooks as you know....c'mon, he's won Oscars...I mean you just can't stop Jim. He's really going. And everybody else. Mary has always done brillant acting. She continues to do it. With ORDINARY PEOPLE she got an Oscar nomination. And everything she does she gets Emmy nominations, if not wins. She's a brilliant actress. I just saw her in New York not long ago, before I came up here to do the play. Then I saw Valerie in New York. Her sister got married so Georgia and I went to my wedding, and my wife. We went to the reception at The Plaza. So there's a sense of family that still exsists whenever we get together. We just "qvell" over everybody's success. It's too bad, you know, Betty White is so fabulous, that Alan had to die...

CJAD: Alan Ludden.

GAVIN: Yeah, because she was reaching her pinacle as an actress and getting respect. She's a great lady too. And Georgia is just one of the sweetest things you ever want to meet in life. So we've had a good time. Too bad Ted's not here, because he was one of the most talented men I ever knew.

CJAD: I had a chance to see your play, THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG on Sunday, which by the way is a marvelous play. It's just great great.

GAVIN: Thank you. I'm glad you liked it. We loved doing it. Wonderful company of actors.

CJAD: Let's go to the lines, some of our listeners want to talk to you. Anne, hello you're on the air.

CALLER: Hi Gavin!


CALLER: My God, have I ever enjoyed you on LOVE BOAT. I even enjoy the commercials that you do now.

GAVIN: Well I'm glad you enjoy those, because those are making me very happy.

CALLER: It just sort of brings back the whole show.

GAVIN: Yeah, thanks very much. CALLER: Anyway, what I wanted to ask you. The little girl that played your daughter. What is she doing now?

GAVIN: Well, I've got some very good news for you. Not many people know about this. I just saw her before I left California. I went to New York to do something for Actors Equity, the fight against AIDS. I was there. I had seen her in New York. I went to visit an old friend in the hospital. She's married now. You want to start feeling old! And if you want to start feeling older.....

CALLER: She's got kids!

GAVIN: She's having her first baby.

CALLER: Oh my goodness.

GAVIN: That little tiny thing. She was eleven years old when she joined us.

CALLER: I thought that was so nice to have her grow up on the show.

GAVIN: Yes, I do to. One of the things was, she wanted to grow up fast, and they wanted her to grow up fast, but we didn't let her grow up too fast. I said, "people want you to stay as young as you can." She says, "but I'm growing breasts! I want to put on lipstick, I want to put on...." I said, "there's plenty of time for that." I remember one day, her brother was on our crew and one day there was a dress cut very, very low in the bust area. An evening gown around the captain's table. I said, "Jill, you can't wear that." She said, "I'm going to." I said, "no, no, you've got to...." So I called the producer over. I said, "Henry, you've got to put a piece in that dress. People don't want to see her cleavage. She's a young little baby." She didn't like it, but the producer, he put it there and her brother said, "I'm so glad you did that." We're still friends, even though I did that to her. She's beautiful. She's married a very nice guy who's a former model. Very handsome, tall, dark hair. He's in his own importing business now, so she's grown into womanhood beautifully.

CALLER: That's great!

GAVIN: So you'd be very happy to see her.

CALLER: And the bartender with the mustache....

GAVIN: Ted, yeah, Isaac. He still directs plays and acts in plays. He keeps pretty busy.

CALLER: And the funny guy, I can't think of his name.

GAVIN: Which funny guy?

CALLER: Gopher!

GAVIN: Well you know what happened to Gopher?


GAVIN: Let me tell you something. Gopher is one of the most brilliant men I have ever met. Not the character, Gopher, but Fred Grandy. He was magna cum laude from Harvard. He was the highest rated academics ever. He couple of years ago came to me in my trailer and said he was leaving the show. I said why and he said I want to do something for people. So he said, "I've re- established resident in Iowa and I'm going to run for Congress." I said, "wow!" So he did and he won by one percent. My wife and I gave him the first cheque. He won by one percent. The next time he won by 65%. He was doing great. I was down there representing Princess Cruises once and we went and had dinner with he and his wife and it was so nice. They said, "right this way, Mr. Congressman" which was quite a departure from what we used to call him. Anyway, he's done very well. As a matter of fact he challenged the incumbant Governor and he lost by two points. So I think for now he's going to be just writing for awhile but will inevitably get him back into politics, because he's really brilliant. He's a great moderate. Larry King loves him. I'm glad you still remember some of us on that show.

CALLER: Oh listen, I just love that show. And I loved you on MARY TYLER MOORE too.

GAVIN: Yeah, that was a lot of fun. You should come see THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG. People laugh and cry. It's really something for THE LOVE BOAT viewers. It's the same kind of thing that will make you think and make you cry. vCALLER: Anyway, I just think you're wonderful. I've loved everything you've ever done! No matter what!

GAVIN: Thank you, God bless you.

CJAD: I keep hearing rumours all the time of a LOVE BOAT movie.

GAVIN: I've read those rumours, and I hope they do it. That means the rumours will stop. I've read that they're going to do it. It's like NATIONAL LAMPOON LOVE BOAT. The casting...the last casting I heard was Rodney Dangerfield as the Captain, Ru Paul will be the cruise director. Are you ready for that. Sandra Bernhard maybe the assistant cruise director. Imagine those two together? Ice-T or Meatloaf, I'm not sure which one, will be Isaac the bartender. They don't have a doctor, but who knows what they'll come up with. You know, it's dream casting for them because they will be very irreverant towards the project. Apparently I hear Aaron Spelling is doing it. Let somebody else do it. I've done it long enough, and I'm very happy to have done it, you know, but I'm with Princess Cruises now....

CJAD: There was a couple of made-for-TV movies after the show went off the air.

GAVIN: We did one, and it was not one of the best, I don't think. It was CBS. Our show was on ABC for all those years and then CBS thought they would do it. The only one we haven't done it on is NBC, so maybe this one will be on NBC or maybe Fox. You know, nine years and six weeks is a long time for any show and I'm very grateful. But if you haven't got a script you shouldn't try to do it. (played theme from LOVE BOAT)

CJAD: I think there are three songs are in people's heads that they can't get out no matter what. JINGLE BELLS, the MACDONALDS jingles from the 70s and THE LOVE BOAT. Once that's in your head....people will be singing this now for the next three weeks.

GAVIN: I hope so. I hope they think of Princess Cruise and come and see THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG.

CJAD: We have Gavin McLeod in studio. The man better know as Merrill Stubing and Murray Slaughter.

GAVIN: You know how they got the name Merrill Stubing?

CJAD: How?

GAVIN: I said to the guy who wrote the pilot, "why did you pick a name like Merrill Stubing?" He said, "I'm a baseball fan, and there was a great ballplayer named Merrill Stubing that nobody's ever heard of from many, many years ago." That's how that name was used. You find a lot of television scripts with strange names. It because of friends they had many, many years ago. The writers. They are just cannonizing them by using their names.

CJAD: Your two best known characters have the same initials.

GAVIN: I always said that. My luggage can always have "MS" on it.

CJAD: Let's go back to the lines. Peter, hello, you're on the air.

CALLER: Hello what was the name of the ship you used on the LOVE BOAT series?

GAVIN: We used two Princess Cruise ships. The Island Princess and The Pacific Princess. They were identical ships.

CALLER: The sets you were on. Were they actual layouts of the ship.

GAVIN: You know where the pool was....on the Carousel Deck that was exactly the same size. They were small ships. Princess started with those ships. What we did cheat on were the interiors. The rooms. The state rooms. The state rooms, at that time, were not that big on ships, so you couldn't get cameras and camera crews and men in there that you need to shoot scenes, so we had to make ours a lot bigger. When people started cruising for the first time after we went on the air, we would all get letters, and meet them and calls saying, "why are the state rooms are so much smaller then you have on the set?" It was like the Marx Brothers. Did you see that movie, they were all in that one cabin. You really can't do that, but now you can, because the cabins are so much bigger. That time they were small.

CALLER: When the show used to cut to people coming off and on the ship were they actually using a ship or...

GAVIN: It all depended on the cut. Some of them were really on the ship. Some were really on the set. Like if they had the stars for a week, the stars coming off, that was usually on the set, except if we were on location for that particular show. We went out for six weeks a year. We first started in Mexico and we did that for so many years that we finally said we've got to explore and start going globally. And then we started going all over the world.

CJAD: Six weeks a year. What does that translate to in the number of episodes per season that were actually shot on location?

GAVIN: It would be three two hour specials or six shows.

CALLER: One final question, if I may. When you were on Letterman, that uniform you wore. That wasn't the actual uniform you wore on the show, was it.

GAVIN: You saw that last one I did....yeah, you must have seen it because of the uniform. I was rehearsing a thing for PBS. A New Year's Eve special with the Guy Lombardo Band. It's going to be on for the whole month of December. It's Pledge Month, so they're going to be showing that, for New Year's Eve. And so I was rehearsing that. My agent called and said, "they want to you do David again." I said, "well what do they want me to do?" He said, "they let you out of rehearsal at 5:15, he starts at 5:30." I said, "what do they want me to do?" He said, "well, they want you to wear a uniform." I told you, no uniforms! I don't want to wear uniforms anymore. He said, "they said trust us." I trusted them before and they were great. I did a whole week last year. They said trust us for the uniform. I said alright, these are the sizes. They got me up there at twenty minutes after five. The wardrobe people had three hats different sizes. They had the jacket, they had the pants. Everything was perfect. That shows you how fast they can do things in New York. I said, "what do you want me to do?" They told me what they wanted to do and it turned out to be the thing dancing with the chicken with the diapers and the jockey shorts and all that stuff. That's one of the most fun shows to do, because you never know what's going to be happening. They're always thinking constantly and last year I went on as just being in the audience for one little laugh. They like it, so they had me on every night for the next five nights. The fifth night, this big georgious creature comes out and give me a all these long stemmed roses and brought me up on stage. Then I did another scene with Dave. I was his roommate once. It's the hottest thing on television, Peter, because you never know what they're going to be doing.

CALLER: Getting back to the uniform. The uniform you wore on THE LOVE BOAT. Was that an actually captain's uniform?

GAVIN: No, what was the actual captain's uniform was the hat and the epilets with the four stripes. They're captain's stripes for Princess Cruises. The rest of it was all made in Hollywood.

CJAD: Thank you for calling Peter. Sandy in DDO, hello.

CALLER: Hello, good evening. Gavin, I've got a few quick questions. Firstly, I've never understood how to pronounce the last name of the lady that played the social director or the cruise director.

GAVIN: I'll tell you how to pronounce it. Her name was Lauren Tewes. "One, Two, Twees." That's the way to get it.

CALLER: Well that clears that up.

GAVIN: Okay.

CALLER: I'm not sure if your familiar with Montreal's great tradition for performing arts over the last century, I guess. Perhaps you are. If not, why Montreal now. You're performing at the Saidye Bronfman Centre, right?


CALLER: Why Montreal now? I would imagine that you would be able to write your own ticket anywhere in the world.

GAVIN: Well, I can. That's why I'm here. I'll tell you the story. We came here on the Princess cruise last year, my wife and I. We flew from Boston to Montreal and we had two hours to kill before we boarded the ship. So we took a limo, went all over and said, "we've gotta come back to this city." We fell in love with what we saw. Then we went on the with cruise and everything was great. Then we did Letterman in New York and so forth. Now, during this past year, we get a call about doing THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG here. THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG, a friend of mine, Michael Learned, did it in New York City. When she was rehearsing it with Hal Linden she said, Gavin....because she and I did two national tours of LOVE LETTERS. She said, "you've got to do this part some day." I said, "well, I'll come and see you." I saw the thing and I said, "yes, I would like to play him. I think I could really play him." And so, I never got a shot to play him. They hadn't done it any place else, except I get a call from my agent. They're doing it in Montreal. My wife and I talked about it and we investigated the producers and the directors and eveything about it. We knew we would have a nice time in Montreal. It would give us a chance to explore Montreal. So that's why we're here.

CALLER: That's good. I guess the self serving Montreal question that I would ask is, I guess you didn't have too much trouble when you heard it was being held over for another....the run was being extended.

GAVIN: Oh that was very pleasant. Apparently, from what I've been told as far as advance sales goes, it's broken records. That's nice. Some people are coming back to see it twice and that makes everybody feel good who's involved in it, you know.

CALLER: Can I ask you a bit about typecasting?

GAVIN: Sure.

CALLER: Perhaps that's a rude question. I guess it's ironic that in your role as the Captain of the LOVE BOAT that was after the MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, and perhaps that serves to maybe shatter a potential typecast on your part, but at the same time you were in vehicle with, I guess Bernie Kopell, who I guess took advantage for the opportunity to shatter the Zeigfried typecasting. What has that done for you in your own career, however?

GAVIN: As far as the Captain goes?


GAVIN: Well, it's been a positive and a minus. I had done the MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW as you know, previous to THE LOVE BOAT. That was like seven years on MARY and almost ten years on THE LOVE BOAT. To me that was enough. You know what I mean? That was enough. It's very trying on a marriage when you're doing a one hour show, week after week after week. You don't have enough time for people that maybe you should have top priority. So I decided that I didn't care to do any more television, because financially I was fixed enough, I didn't have to worry about it.

CALLER: Well that's good!

GAVIN: So I was able to go back an concentrate on what I love more than anything else, which is the theatre. You can't buy an apartment building doing plays, but you can rejuvinate yourself. You can welcome those challenges of building a character, interpreting a part, working with another group....a new family. I just love the hours of the theatre, I love the way it operates. I always say that when you're doing a play it's like getting a shot of B12, and when you do television for a long series you need a shot of B12.

CALLER: I guess so, there are no seven and ten year runs on the wide stage, I guess.

GAVIN: Well you know, Henry Fonda did almost seven years of MR. ROBERTS, so apparently it used to happen. I don't think it happens in too many shows, except, look at somebody doing THE PHANTOM. That could run forever. LES MIZ. I mean, some of these shows are running forever. If an actor wants to stick with it I'm sure....if they don't grow out of the part physically or age-wise or something, the probably could stay with it for a long, long period of time.

CALLER: Is there an ideal stage role that you could see yourself playing if you can pick the one that you consider the ultimate role?

GAVIN: Well, I don't know. I always think that I love doing what I'm doing at the moment. The past is over. I can't go play one of those characters again. But I can play this and I can continue to grow in what I'm doing at the moment and that's really what I'm thinking about now. There are a lot of new opportunities that are poking their head up in my future. I've been very fortunate that way, but for right now, what I like is what I'm doing. You know, I'm the spokesperson for Princess Cruises. That takes a degree of my life in those obligations. I have to....I'm sorry, you may have to suffer about this...but I have to take two cruises a year.

CALLER: Ah darn, (laughter)

GAVIN: (Laughter) And do trade shows and things like that and do the commercials.

CALLER: Do people still ask you to perform marriages?

GAVIN: Well you know, that really hasn't happened in a long time, but in February I'm going on a cruise. It's the national LOVE BOAT holiday with Princess Cruises. And what we do, it's every year at this particular time, it's Valentine's week. We leave February 11th and we do the Caribbean. On this particular cruise, and there are a lot of Canadians always on this ship. 550 couples renew their wedding vows. I don't have anything to do with it. They have a real minister, a priest, a rabbi. They do everything. I'm just there to do interviews and stuff, because we have about 40 media people there, so it's a very, very busy week. But that's the only time. I did marry, I think on one show, about 25 couples in Acapulco Bay once, but that was all just for kicks.

CJAD: Okay, Sandy, thank you for the call. Basil in Pointe Claire, hi, you're on the air.

CALLER: Hello there, how's it going.

GAVIN: Great, thank you Basil.

CALLER: Great, I've been wondering. LOVE BOAT was my favorite show.

GAVIN: It was yours!

CALLER: Yeah, it was my pride and joy. I was into it everyday.

GAVIN: Well thank you very much. I'm happy to be a part of your favorite show.

CJAD: What was great for THE LOVE BOAT, after its initial run, is the fact that ABC ran it in the morning at 11am everyday.

GAVIN: Peter, it was so hot! We were making new ones the second year. We were in syndication the second year. So we were on Saturday nights, prime time, every morning, and then they put it on Sunday evenings too. So it was all over the place. That coupled with THE MARY TYLER MOORE reruns and all the other things I had done years ago all popping up at that particular time. Somebody did an article in one of the newspapers saying that at that time I had the most visibility of any actor around. Kind of nice, you know, when that thing was happening.

CJAD: You weren't worried or concerned about overexposure?

GAVIN: (Laughter) Oh no. Work is work. A lot of times, when parts are offered, it depends where you are with your life. "I can't turn this down because it might do something for my image," or "I can't turn this down, it may affect my future." You know, you have to put bread on the table. So you thank God you got the job.

CJAD: Susan in Ville D'Anjou.

CALLER: Hi, how are you?

GAVIN: Good.

CALLER: Oh my gosh, I can't believe it.

GAVIN: I can't either Susan.

CALLER: I'm 20 years old. I wanted to ask you. When did you actually start with THE LOVE BOAT? What year?

GAVIN: 1977. And it went off in 1986.

CALLER: Okay, but the reruns went on longer though?

GAVIN: The reruns are in 92 countries now.

CALLER: Because, 1977 I was three years old, but I remember after that.

GAVIN: (Laughter) I'm happy you were only three years old! I was a little older.

CALLER: But I'm telling you. THE LOVE BOAT was my favorite show, and it still is. I'm disappointed that they don't have it actually again in reruns, because I'd love to see it again.

CJAD: It's not playing in this market, but I'm sure it'll come back.

GAVIN: I'm sure it will make a return.

CALLER: I'm so thrilled that I'm actually talking to you.

GAVIN: Well thank you very much. You were only 3-years-old in 1977?


GAVIN: I was only 33, so don't worry (laughter).

CALLER: I was wondering if you've done movies besides THE LOVE BOAT and THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.

GAVIN: Oh yeah, I did a lot of movies. Most of it was previous to that. My last big movie was KELLY'S HEROES which was just before THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW started. That's a man's show. The music is great in it. That was a Clint Eastwood movie with Carroll O'Conner and Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland. A great group of actors.

CALLER: Are you going to stay in Montreal long.

GAVIN: Until the end of December. Just until it starts to snow and then I'm going home. (laughter.)

CJAD: Oh, I may start before that!

CALLER: Well it's nice to have you in Montreal.

GAVIN: Thank you very much.

CJAD: Susan, maybe you should venture over to the Saidye Bronfman Centre

CALLER: Oh, I hope I can. I hope I can still manage to get tickets.

GAVIN: Oh, no, you can get tickets. All you have to do is call.

CALLER: Yeah! I will.

GAVIN: Alright, honey, thanks for calling.

CALLER: Thank you, bye, bye.

CJAD: Jeff in Lasalle, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Gavin.

GAVIN: Hiya Jeff.

CALLER: I'm one of your biggest fans. I really love THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.

GAVIN: Thank you very much.

CALLER: I was just wondering, at the time though, CHUCKLES THE CLOWN has to be my all time favorite.

GAVIN: Mine too! Let me tell you something you don't know, since it's your favorite show. We had our resident director, whom I eluded to before, Jay Sandrich, who was fabulous. When that script first came out, he said "I'm not going to direct that one because it's black humour. I don't think they're going to laugh at death."

CALLER: Yeah, I thought it was really controversial for the time.

GAVIN: It really was! But David Lloyd wrote that. He was from Harvard or Yale. A very brilliant easterner who was on our staff. I think it was probably my favorite one in the seven years. I still laugh when I think about it.

CJAD: A little song.....

GAVIN: A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants. (laughter)

CALLER: That was a classic. Keep up the good work.

GAVIN: Thank you. As a matter of fact, when Ted died in real life, he was my closest friend. We had been close friends since 1957 when we first came to California together. His wife Dorothy invited me to do the eulogy. I was in Cape Cod doing a play and I couldn't do it, but I sent it. One of the things I mentioned, I said, "Ted, we'll always think of you when we hear, 'a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants." He was a great guy.

CALLER: Do you ever speak to Edward Asner?

GAVIN: I don't see him very often, but when I see him we hug and embrace and talk. I'm in the East Coast now and Ed is on the West Coast. He's doing another series, you know, THUNDER ALLEY, playing a grandfather now. Time marches on.

CALLER: Yeah, tell me about it. I was watching him when I was a kid too and it's hard to believe now seeing him on TV.

GAVIN: (Laughter) Time marches on. As my wife says, unfortunately it marches across our face.

CALLER: Yeah, that's what mine says too! Anyway, thanks a lot.

CJAD: Bye, bye. I guess one of the things that was unique about that show, THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, was the fact that....our caller brought up Ed Asner....that in most sitcoms before then, you had true out and out comics playing the parts. But here you had actors who could do a broad range of styles. Ed from play Lou Grant on MARY TYLER MOORE to going into a dramatic version of LOU GRANT. You wouldn't expect that from perhaps some of the bigger sitcom stars of years gone by. They were all comics

GAVIN: Yeah, in a way. Don't forget, Ed had great opportunities during THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW too. On our first vacation, I was off doing a play, but he did RICH MAN POOR MAN....was that what it was?

CJAD: With Peter Strauss?

GAVIN: Yeah, with Peter Strauss.


GAVIN: Yes he did ROOTS. And all those things. Ed's a terrific actor. Yeah, that's what's nice. It's a very good observation, but you know, Dick Van Dyke preceded us and Dick basically was a funny....he's done some very nice serious stuff too. There's always another side to those comics. Usually it's a very serious side. Dick is enormously talented. I did a movie with him called THE COMIC.

CJAD: Jenny you're on the air.

CALLER: Good evening Gavin.


CALLER: I enjoyed your show on Wednesday. I was there to see it. Now, if I was 30 years younger I would say you would be my idol, but now 30 years older, you could be my young boy-chick!

GAVIN: (laughter) I'm qvelling! I'm qvelling!

CALLER: I never missed THE LOVE BOAT. I never missed THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW. I enjoyed it.

GAVIN: Thank you so much.

CALLER: I'm so glad to speak to you have for having seen the play. I enjoyed it tremendously.

GAVIN: Thank you for coming. Thanks a lot. God bless you.

CALLER: Thank you.

CJAD: Shirley in TMR.

CALLER: Hi, nice to talk to you.

GAVIN: Hi Shirley

CALLER: I'm calling about CHUCKLES THE CLOWN. How long did it take you to film that scene with Mary Tyler Moore. How did she not laugh at the beginning?

GAVIN: Well, I'm telling you, she's a gifted actress. We laughed when we first read it. Everybody screamed when we first read it, but her part...she saved her laughter until the end as you remember, in the funeral parlour, where she couldn't control herself, and all of us, we were all very serious at that time.

CALLER: But were you laughing at that part too. Was it very difficult for you to contain your laughter?

GAVIN: Well I'll tell you one thing. I just saw that recently. I checked myself out in that funeral parlour scene. I saw myself laughing, because there was a shot of Ed and I together and Mary was right in back of us. My head turned from the camera and I saw myself laughing, because Mary was absolutely brilliant in that thing. She got the Emmy for that show. Wasn't that one of the funniest shows ever?

CALLER: Well we have it on tape, and we play that thing over and over again!

GAVIN: Well I don't blame you. I wish I did.

CJAD: Now tell me Shirley, there aren't very many shows on television...there are a lot of funny, funny shows on TV...but can you remember other shows where you would actually laugh out loud? That was one episode when I saw it that I laughed out loud, at home, alone, just watching this episode.

CALLER: I agree with you. I think FRASIER now....

GAVIN: I agree with you. FRASIER has that same kind of wit. Did you see the one on FRASIER a couple of weeks ago when he brings his new boss home? (laughter), aw, that's a classic! They've showed it twice already.

CALLER: It's so nice to talk to you.

GAVIN: Well, thank you so much for callin in. I'm glad you liked THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.

CJAD: Bunny, you're on the air.

CALLER: Hello, I'm Bunny. I'm from Cote St. Luc. It's a delight to speak to you.

GAVIN: Thank you very much Bunny.

CALLER: I've always said everytime I saw you on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and THE LOVE BOAT that his blue eyes and him I can take home with me anytime and I'm very disappointed that you're married.

GAVIN: Oh wow, and what about those seven kids.

CALLER: Enjoy them. Have a lot of good luck. I have tickets. I'm taking my 85 year old Mother to see you.

GAVIN: Oh how wonderful.

CALLER: We'll be in the second row and we're just delighted. I thought that I heard that you're going to be staying into January.

GAVIN: Well we don't really know right now. I think right now we will be closing. We've extended twice already, two weeks beyond when we were supposed to close. I think we're going to be closing the end of December unless all of a sudden a lot of people hear my voice tonight and start buying tickets. But it's been a fabulous run. We've only just started. We've only been playing for two weeks. The audiences have been wonderful

CALLER: Well I've been following the write-ups and you've been getting really super, super write-ups and I expect you to do super.....

GAVIN: Well I'll tell you something Bunny, I'll do it just for you, because you have to know when you come to see this, I'm not the Captain and I'm not Murray. I'm a whole different guy.

CALLER: Oh, okay.

GAVIN: Yeah, so see if you like this guy more than than the other two.

CALLER: Okay, you have a 63-year-old me, and an 85-year-old Mom and we're rooting for you all the way. Good luck.

GAVIN: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

CJAD: The one thing that I was impressed with when I saw the performance, is that when they bring a star in of your calibre to headline a local production, sometimes there is the concern that with someone who comes in like yourself, the other actors are not up to par. This is definately not the case. It's a fine cast right through.

GAVIN: This is a group effort. This is group theatre. This is no big star turn. You could do things with it to do that but it would just be out of kilter. This is one reason I like this play. This is a unit. This is a group playing together and that's the only way, I feel, this play can be successful and moving. I am so lucky to have the people that are in it. When I came here I didn't know who was going to be in the play. We sat down and read it for the first time and I thanked God under my breath, because they were all so good. And my leading ladies are both exceptional. I mean, everybody in the play...I could just go on all night about them. But people should come and see them, because they all live here in Montreal.

CJAD: Gavin I thank you for being in studio with us this evening.

GAVIN: Peter, it's my pleasure. It's so nice to see you.

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