The Bewitched And Elizabeth Montgomery Site had the priveledge of an exclusive interview with Bernard Fox (Dr. Bombay). We are pleased to present it here. He shares with us his recollections of Bewitched, Titanic and some of his many other shows. We loved hearing his Dr. Bombay chuckle (remember the little chuckle when he said to Darrin "he's a bit of a square, isn't he?") Bernard is as sharp and witty as ever, and still looks and sounds just as he did as "Bombay" in Bewitched - a jolly good fellow!
WEBMASTER: What do you remember about getting the part of Dr. Bombay - the auditioning process...?
BERNARD: Well, in those days I didn't audition. The first thing I did was Osgood Wrightmeyer (on Bewitched), and he set himself up as a man that could find witches and sort of take away their power. And of course, Elizabeth's character immediately set about making a fool of him and all his witchcraft stuff fell about his ears on the stage that he was on. And that was my first introduction to Bewitched, and the next time they just called me for the Doctor - Dr. Bombay.
WEBMASTER: At that point you were getting so many parts, they just said, "He's the guy I want, call him in?"
BERNARD: Well, I had gotten to the stage that I wasn't auditioning any more, and so, they knew who I was, because I had started in Hollywood, guest starring on the Danny Thomas Show, and the same producers did the Andy Griffith show, so I was a guest star on that, and the Dick Van Dyke Show, they had the same producers on that, so to start reading for Bewitched - it just didn't happen, it wasn't necessary. So they called me in to play this doctor, and I thought it just was a one-shot, and that was it. And I thought to myself, I don't want to just be any old doctor, so I made him a very kind of - there's a man I knew in Ceylon actually, who'd been a vet, and he was the officer in charge of the camp that we were in, and it was an all male camp, and one evening, I was on duty, and we got six Women's Royal Naval Service arrived to be put up, and it was an all male camp. So I went to this officer and I said "We've got six Women's Royal Naval Services, what shall I do?" And he said "Oh, I don't know, give 'em a hot bran mash, some clean straw, and bed 'em down for the night." And I thought what a great way to play this doctor. And that's the way I played him, and they just kept writing him back in.
WEBMASTER: So they said they wanted a doctor, and you said, "How about THIS?"
BERNARD: Yeah. The character was so colorful, that they just kept using it. I did an awful lot of those shows.
WEBMASTER: You were in only 19 episodes as Dr. Bombay, but he's constantly remembered. Every time I listen to the radio, somebody says, "Dr. Bombay." Do you have any idea why you made such an impression?
BERNARD: If I'd just gone for an ordinary doctor, you wouldn't have heard any more about it. But because I made him such a colorful character, that's why they wanted him back; he was easy to write for. They came up with the idea of him coming from different parts of the world all the time, and in different costumes; that was their idea. The puns, I came up with, and in those days, they let you do that.
WEBMASTER: So they didn't just write every word for you to dictate back...?
BERNARD: More or less, they wrote the script, yeah, but if I saw something where a pun could come in, I would put it in and see how it went, and nine times out of ten, they let it go. I spent a lot of time in comedy and farce in London in the west end, and a little bit on television, and so I came up with these outrageous characters. Dr. Bombay was an outrageous character. Colonel Crittenden on Hogan's Heroes was another outrageous character - a different kind of character. On the Andy Griffith Show, I had another nice character, Malcolm Merriweather, that was bicycling across America. And there are people from the South who have actually gone to England, looking for Malcolm Merriweather, to see where he lived. They told them they thought he was still bicycling around in America. Another thing you could do in those days that you can't do now, on the Dick Van Dyke show, I played different characters at different times. Once I was a detective, once I was sort of a colonel type, and I was an English teacher, chasing Mary around the desks, and all that kind of thing. You could do that, thirty-odd years ago. It seems to me nowadays, you do a show and that's it. They don't let you come back and play something else. I mean, Farmer's Daughter, I had 3 different shows on that, and I played a different character in each one. Nobody turned a hair. For a European actor, there was more work about. If you come to think of it, there were Italian actors, French actors, English actors...
WEBMASTER: If you had something different to sell...
BERNARD: If you think about it, when I first came here, we had Daniel Boone, it was like a repertory company of English actors, all playing beastly officers that were kicking Americans around. There was I Spy, all sorts of European actors, Twelve O'Clock High, remember that?
WEBMASTER: A WWII thing right?
BERNARD: It was about the bombers in England, going over - Twelve O'Clock High - from the movie. There was a lot of work about. And then it went, gradually, it seemed to go into more of series that just used who was in the series, rather than going outside and bringing in guest actors, so, yeah, it got very quiet for European actors, in fact, I met an Australian on Titanic. He had just left Australia and come to America, come to Hollywood, looking for a career, and he was over 60.
WEBMASTER: He was just starting?
BERNARD: He was just starting. And I'm afraid I said, I didn't think much of his chances. Naturally, he said, "Well as it happens, I'm a very fine actor." I said yeah, [LAUGH] but you told me you're over 60 and you're living on your savings. You're not gonna make it. I'm happy to say he's gone back.
WEBMASTER: He'll probably be happier.
BERNARD: Yeah! If you say that to anybody about the English, or about Hollywood, they tend to think it's sour grapes, you know, and it's not at all.
WEBMASTER: When it comes from somebody who's had so much success, you have more credibility.
BERNARD: Yeah. Yeah.
WEBMASTER: When they did scenes with a lot of special effects in them, did that make the work days longer, was it a lot harder to be in those?
BERNARD: No, no, no, they were very very well organized by the time I got into it. They whizzed that set around, and you'd be in your dressing room changing. They worked quickly, because, you know what they used to do, for instance, when you disappeared out of shot in one costume and came back in the next; they almost nailed your shoes to the stage. They put steel plates around them and nailed them down so then you got back in exactly the same spot, and on the camera in those days, they didn't look through the lens, they had a box on the side and looked through that, and it had, like a bomber sight in it, so the camera operator could tell you "put your hands a little bit more to the left, or up, or down, or what have you..."
WEBMASTER: How did he know where it was, he'd go by the grids on the sight?
BERNARD: Yeah, yeah. The special effects were very easily handled, and you know, the property department worked with the special effects team, and things would be all ready. I remember one episode the whole sofa had to go through the floor. I thought ..I was a bit worried about THIS one because I had visions of bolts being pulled underneath, like a trap door, you know? And if they don't all go together, some of us are going to go down on one end, and the others are not [LAUGHTER]. It could be dangerous, but by golly it went, straight off. I got my ass burned a couple of times, when they introduced me with a flame effect or something.
WEBMASTER: Oh, no!
BERNARD: Oh, yeah, there was one I remember they put this wooden circle around me and filled it with gunpowder or something [CHUCKLE], and set it off and I definitely got scorched.
WEBMASTER: So those poofs were a little scary.
BERNARD: Yeah, yeah. Whenever you're working with explosives in the industry, I don't look for it to be 100%.
WEBMASTER: It's never foolproof.
BERNARD: Never, no.
WEBMASTER: On the whole, though, you would say the Bewitched set was pretty smooth compared to other sets you were on?
BERNARD: Any series that's been running for as long as it has been, you've got everybody as a team, everybody's working together, yeah.
WEBMASTER: You were first on in '66, then came on in '67 as Dr. Bombay, ?
BERNARD: If you say so - I can't remember.
WEBMASTER: Well, you came in two or three years after they started, right?
WEBMASTER: Was the set pretty much all business, or were there little pranks going on here and there?
BERNARD: No, no, not a lot of pranks, it's too expensive in those days. There were a lot of bloopers. Elizabeth used to swear like a trooper when she blew her lines or anything, and at Christmas time, they would run film of Elizabeth cussing, oh yeah. She'd stomp her foot and cuss. I remember one kind of thing that went on, was one time I was squeezing a lemon into the clam dip, and it shot right into Elizabeth's eye. And, so they cut, and they went to go again, and I sliced the lemon again and squeezed it, and it shot right into her eye again. And they said, "Bet you can't do that a third time", and you know it did, the third time it went right into her eye. They kept it in the finished show.
BERNARD: I remember things like on Hogan's Heroes, that idiot I played on Hogan's Heroes, I'd hidden the maps inside a corn bin. And I lifted the lid, and I bent down inside the corn bin, and the lid came down on my head. And, I just put the lid up and carried on, and they cut. They said "We'll have to go again", and I said, "What for?" He said, "Well the lid fell on your head." I said "I didn't play it." I didn't take any notice. If you see that episode, that is in it.
WEBMASTER: Does any one episode stand out in your mind?
BERNARD: [PAUSE] Yeah, I liked the one, (and I know why I liked it), I had just come back from scuba diving or something or other. I was wearing a wet suit and swim fins, and they had this goony bird on the set, and they couldn't get rid of it, so I was called in, and I was supposed to try and corner this goony bird, and this wasn't in the script, but when I was a boy, touring around with my parents in the theatre, we spent a lot of time in digs on a farm on an island or something like that. And I knew a little about that. So I'm trying to get this big bird into the corner, and as I'm going around I'm going "SHOUK! chuckchuckchuckchuck SHOUK! chuckchuckchuckchuck." It wasn't in the script at all, and dear old Agnes, she thought that was really something, she thought that was really special. Loved it. That fella, Janos Prohaska, he was so proud of the fact that that goony bird would lay an egg, if you wanted it to, and he was very upset that nobody wanted him to lay an egg on the set. [chuckle]
WEBMASTER: He built some of those outfits himself, right?
BERNARD: Well, he specialized in skin work. Of course, he was killed in that plane crash, along with our makeup man and a lot of people.
WEBMASTER: How was it, working for Asher? Was he a tough director?
BERNARD: No, Bill was fine. The first couple of shows I did, he got on my case a bit. To the point that Elizabeth turned 'round one day and said "Bill..." you know, like "what's the matter with you?" I don't know whether it was because I was a newcomer or what, but after that, when he saw I was reasonable individual and easy-going, he was fine. As a matter of fact, I tell you what, I used to do a lot of vegetable gardening, and I had somebody send me some seeds from England, of a vegetable marrow. Vegetable marrow is like a squash, only it's bigger, and it gets to be that size [indicating about 16"] without the skin getting tough. And this one was a yellow vegetable marrow. So I brought one in, and I brought in the recipe for cooking it. Which a lot of Americans roll their eyes at, because what you do is you cut off the end, and you stuff it with any really good meat loaf stuffing, after you've scooped out the seeds of course, and you tie the end back on, put it in the oven, in about a half inch of fat. And of course people say "FAT?" But you put it in the fat, and you turn it over from time to time, it's in there for about an hour and a half or two hours, and you keep basting it, and the flavors of the meat inside are all percolated through the flesh of the marrow, and the basting kind of carmelizes, and it's delicious. And I put it in Elizabeth's dressing room with the recipe, and I thought "They'll probably go throw it out in the garbage; that'll be that." Not at all. The very next day, Bill came up to me and he said, "Our cook fixed that last night, and it was the most delicious surprise I've had in my life." Isn't that nice?
WEBMASTER: So that must've made some points.
BERNARD: Oh yeah, I think so. Then after that every year, Elizabeth decided I was a gourmet chef and she got me a subscription to Gourmet Magazine, every year after that.
WEBMASTER: So there was a little bit of socializing.
BERNARD: Oh, yeah. And you know, Elizabeth like to bet on the horses. I remember one time, we had finished shooting and all of a sudden, food and sandwiches began to appear, and liquor bottles began to appear, and seltzer, and I said "What's going on?" And they said "Oh, Elizabeth's just won on the track". She did that every time she won, she'd have a party on the set.[CHUCKLE]
WEBMASTER: So there were a lot of parties.
BERNARD: Yeah. At Christmas, a lovely big party at Christmas. And that's when they showed the blooper shots, of things that went wrong. It was hysterical.
WEBMASTER: You did a lot of shows in those years, Andy Griffith, Danny Thomas, and others...
BERNARD: I'll tell you, they would get sticky you know about shifting their schedule around, but I remember one time they wanted me on Hogan's Heroes, and they also wanted me on Bewitched, but they got together. I did Tuesday-Wednesday on Bewitched, and Thursday-Friday on Hogan's Heroes.
WEBMASTER: Those were different studios, right?
BERNARD: Yeah, but they worked it out.
WEBMASTER: Were there things about Bewitched that made it stand out in your mind as compared to the others?
BERNARD: No, not really. There was one guy that was a darling. He was the wardrobe man, Byron [Munson], and he was awfully cute. I remember one of the first shows I did, I was senator, a Roman senator. So he came out with the Roman senator's robe, and he gave me the laurel wreath, and put it on my head backwards. And I turned it 'round the right way and he said "No, no, no, no." And I said "Yes, yes, yes, yes." "No, no, no, no." I said "Yes!" I said "You go look it up!" We got on very very well, and he used to quietly come up at the side of me and say "Could you use some shirts?" (he says meekly) I said "Yeah." He'd come up to me at the end of the day's shoot with a pile of shirts. I got 'em home, and they were all the old fashioned ones, cut away around the collar, you know. So I said "Those shirts, they're old fashioned." He said, "Well bring 'em back." He brought out another bunch of shirts that were the right way. He was a dear.
WEBMASTER: Do you remember anything about I dream of Jeannie?
BERNARD: I didn't do too many of those. Yeah, I do remember I played a magician on one of them, and I was having a wonderful time, I was pulling flowers out from nowhere, and magic rings from somewhere else, and packs of cards - I was having a wonderful time. Then (that was on the master shot) when it came to the closeup and the script girl is saying "You pull the rings out on this line, you pull the roses out on that line, you spread the cards on this line." I thought "I can never do that." So I approximated it but, you know if they'd tell you these things before you do the shot...
WEBMASTER: If you'd known you were supposed to do it line by line..
BERNARD: Yeah, then you could say, "OK, alright, I'll try to remember to do it on this line and that line..."
WEBMASTER: Was there a bit of rivalry between those two shows, was there any issue with you being in both of them?
BERNARD: No, no. The only time I ran into that was the same production company and Bill Asher were doing what seemed to me a very, very funny pilot about a klutzy Sherlock Holmes and a klutzy Dr. Watson, and they had me read for Dr. Watson, which I've played many, many times, MANY times, and I didn't get it. And I couldn't understand why the extremely bad actor got it, that did get it, and I think I figured it out - Bill or somebody must've said "Now wait a minute, we use him on Bewitched. You can't take him and put him in this other series." But it didn't sell anyway, so that was the only time I can remember that happening.
WEBMASTER: You were also on The Partridge Family and The Monkees. Do you remember things about those?
BERNARD: Partridge Family, nothing very much about that, it was a very brief appearance. Oh, I loved Shirley, she's a doll, she's a really nice lady. And the Monkees? I get very angry about the Monkees, because they were such an amateur bunch of rabble rousers, you know, they had no way of... Oh, I thought they were a bunch of unprofessional idiots. I couldn't believe the stuff that went on. They'd have cans of chocolates or something in between the cupboards and in between shots they'd be cramming chocolates [in their mouths]. Really. Well, you have to understand I'm an "old" pro. Not only an old pro, I mean, if I go back in my childhood days, actors and anybody else in London dressed appropriately. If you were in London, you were in city dress, morning coats, top hats, and all that kind of thing. If you were in the country, you were in tweeds, baggy plus-fours and that kind of thing. Never DREAM of coming to London in your baggy plus-fours. You always wore your umbrella and the whole bit. So I must admit, when I first came to America, the casual attitude on the set and everywhere REALLY got to me. I was amazed. I got used to it, of course, but professionally speaking, I expected a bit more.
WEBMASTER: The Monkees were a bit more casual than you expected.
BERNARD: Yeah, yeah.
WEBMASTER: I'm going to give you some names and you can tell me any memories you have of these people. David White?
BERNARD: Nice nice guy, yeah. And I remember chatting to him one time, and I guess I was in a foul mood about the profession or something, which I've been at most of my life. And he said, "You realize what you're doing; you're negating your life." [CHUCKLE] I said "You're right you know" - he's right.[LAUGH]
WEBMASTER: Marion Lorne?
BERNARD: A dear lady. I knew her husband vaguely. He wrote "Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure", which was a very popular play in England. And Ma-Ma-Ma-Marion [imitating Marion, chuckling] and we got on very very well. We had a fun thing one time. We were trying to top each other, something to do with I was making a pallation. And I thought - (they let the camera run), and it was the two of us, and I took the spoon up and I went [loud slurping noise], and I thought that was it, and she looked at me, and she picked up the spoon and just took a sip, dropped it straight back in the mixture, and kinda went [makes a face, wipes his eye and laughs], she pinched that one!
WEBMASTER: Agnes Moorehead
BERNARD: Thoroughly professional lady, which is why I was so thrilled that she liked that chuckchuckchuck thing, because that was praise indeed, coming from her. We had a director on there that she disliked very very much, and there was always a little bit of an altercation when this guy was directing. She was a pro. She had a beautiful house, up in one of the canyons, and she had servants, and she used to read the Bible on Sunday mornings. All the servants had to gather and she stood at the foot of the stairs and read a few chapters from the Bible. Her mother outlived her, you know. She had a mother on a farm. She was WAY older than Agnes, but she outlived her.
WEBMASTER: Serena and Samantha
BERNARD: [He hesitates to think a few seconds, then realizes I mean the character] Oh, now you're talking, yeah, yeah yeah yeah. Elizabeth had a marvelous story about Serena, because she CHANGED you know, TOTALLY. Apparently they had a producer on the show, and when she first came down as Serena, he got the hots for her, and he came over and he started chatting her up. He was really, really working awfully hard. And Elizabeth kind of gave him a look.[CHUCKLE]
WEBMASTER: Well, he knew who she was...
BERNARD: No! No! He thought this was a hot number that had come onto the set.
WEBMASTER: This was someone who had looked at her every day for years?
BERNARD: Yeah! And she kind of looked at him, whoever it was - I don't think it could have been Bill Asher - but I know when she told me the story, she said, "Bill! It's me!" [LAUGHTER] Yeah, she was wonderful in that character.
WEBMASTER: Dick York?
BERNARD: [spoken like he had a very sweet spot for York] Another nice guy. I didn't know at the time, but he had all the back problems. I liked Dick very much, a very fine actor. We got to talking, we were doing a telephone interview show with some radio station in New York. He was very sweet, he said, "Oh, Bernie, I wish you could just put your hands on me and cure me the way you did so many people in Bewitched." And he said he'd been doing (it was sad in a way) much better, his back had improved, and his career was getting back on track. And then he said he went out in the garden and took a fall and the back started in all over again. So the career went back down the tubes. He was a darling man.
BERNARD: Elizabeth? Well, Elizabeth was always very sweet, knew her lines, but I've heard, the last few years was not at all happy about the show. It's a big strain on a woman, you know, to carry a show like that, you have to get up at five in the morning, you're in the hair department at about six in the morning, and the actors - the fellas - they don't come in until like seven - by that time she'd been there two hours, got the hair all fixed, and THEN went into makeup. So when she went home, she probably had to have a quick bit of supper, and go to bed, and look at her lines for the next day. Very hard work. But she was a nice lady, and we got on extremely well.
WEBMASTER: Have you often had to do an American accent?
BERNARD: I don't know that I've ever done an American accent. I did once, and it was a sort of a - it was just a situation where I was supposed to be a circus owner. And the director came up and said "Bernard, you come in and say OK guys, get on up this." And I said, "OK guys, get on up this." So that was the first time. And then, of course, this last movie that I've made, "Titanic" he was an American. He was an American that was very pro-British. In fact, he was a very enthusiastic cricketer. But I had a girl that was helping me with the accent, it's not a strong American accent, but it's there.
WEBMASTER: Sort of a patrician, Bostonian accent.
WEBMASTER: Right after Bewitched, did you keep up with anyone from the show?
WEBMASTER: I'd like to talk about Titanic. How did you get the part?
BERNARD: Well, the casting woman, Molly Finn, was a very very nice lady. Normally, I refuse to do what they call "pre-read," which means you read for the casting person before you get to see the producer and the director. But she was very gracious and considerate, so I did - I read for her. She said, "I'm going to give you the script, and I want you to go home, look through it, then come back, and we're going to put it down on video tape and it will be sent to Jim Cameron." So I did, and I didn't hear anything for weeks, and I thought "Oh, well, that's the end of that." Next thing I knew, the agent called, and he said Cameron flipped when he saw the videotape, and I got the part.
WEBMASTER: Was this something where you felt from the beginning you wanted to be involved in this, because you knew it was going to be something big?
BERNARD: I didn't know - you see I was in the original, "A Night To Remember." So I knew quite a bit about the Titanic. What I didn't realize was the scope of this particular Titanic. So I'm sad to say, I don't go to the movies a lot, and so I didn't know who Jim Cameron was. So I wasn't terribly impressed when I got down there and saw that whackin' great ship, with those four funnels. And every night it was lit up, of course, why wouldn't it be? They were working on it every night. You didn't start until seven in the evening. And you kept going until dawn broke. And then, it was an enormous strain on everybody, it REALLY was. I remember Leonardo [DiCaprio] mentioned that after a few months he noticed that people around him were getting really, really weary, and you could tell it, when you looked at people - uptight, weary, and then we had things go wrong with the mechanical hoist, and stuff like that. People got sick - they were pumping in seawater into the tanks, and I remember one directive was sent 'round, "Do not swim in the ocean between Point Doom and Encinada." Down there, all the effluent from everything goes straight into the ocean. So that was pumped into the tanks, and I think a lot of people got ill with that. And then, also, they couldn't heat the tanks of course, because it was supposed to be the Arctic and you couldn't have steam coming off the water. So the next directive that went 'round was how to realize that you were getting hypothermia - no feeling in your feet and no feeling in your hands. So then they brought in hot tubs. When people were getting hypothermia, they hauled them out and put them in hot tubs.
WEBMASTER: Did that help?
BERNARD: Oh, yeah.
WEBMASTER: You spent a lot of time in the water yourself.
BERNARD: Only on the last day, because I had a stunt double, thank God, who was an amazing man, actually. He was British. And you know most stunt people are kind of rough diamonds, and there's my dressing room, with my name on the door, "Colonel Archibald Gracie", and one morning, it was about four or five in the morning, I was snoozing away, and all of a sudden, the door opened, and it's THIS fellow. He was soaking wet, and he looked at me and he said, [with a British accent] "Oh, I say, I'm frightfully sorry. I DO apologize", and he went out. Two nights later, he did the same thing, he opened the door and he said, "Oh, I say, I'm frightfully sorry. I DO apologize." You don't expect that kind of speech with a stunt man, so really basically, I only got in water the last day, in the famous shot where 29 men stood on an upturned lifeboat for six hours, until they were rescued. And that scene is not in the film.[chuckle] It's a wonderful movie. It's kind of the "Gone With The Wind" of the nineties, I think.
WEBMASTER: Do you think this one will be the be-all and end-all of Titanic movies?
BERNARD: Actually, I think the be-all and end-all of Titanic movies is "A Night To Remember", because it's a docu-film, if you like. A Night To Remember tells a story, and you got to meet the Astors, the Guggenheims, and the Levi Strausses and you knew who they were it kind of glosse over that a bit, a lot of people have mentioned that - "Who were that couple in bed, holding hands?" It was the Levi Straussses. But probably Jim would say that in his original shoot, he gave a lot of time to all that stuff, but it ran so long, it had to go.
WEBMASTER: It must have been very painful for him to edit out all those expensive scenes.
Kasey Rogers ("Louise Tate") and Bernard with "real-life" drinks in 1996
BERNARD: Oh, yeah. I know one young man, who was basing his career on the film, it was his first film ever, and he was basing his hopes on his part, and it's practically all gone.
WEBMASTER: We've been getting a lot of feedback from the site - people saying, "Hey! Dr. Bombay's in that movie! How come we didn't know about that?" They're very excited to hear that you're still working.
BERNARD: Yeah. Also, there's a web site for the Andy Griffith show, and somebody sent me a printout that said, "I was watching Titanic, and all of a sudden - Malcolm Merriweather came on! And I wanted to shout out 'that's Malcolm Merriweather and I'm going to see him next April on the cruise!' "
WEBMASTER: How long were you in Mexico for that shoot?
BERNARD: Six months, he says without a word of hesitation.
WEBMASTER: How often did you get to go home?
BERNARD: Well, they sent you home if you weren't going to be used for about ten days. I was home for Christmas for ten days; they were very nice about that.
WEBMASTER: Was it exciting, working on the movie?
BERNARD: Not really, no.
WEBMASTER: Just a lot of work, huh?
BERNARD: Yes. You know what the exciting about it to me was, Mr. Cameron went to such incredible detail to see that everything was right. My tail suit was tailored, as were all the gentlemen's - the principals. The shirts were tailor-made in Beverly Hills, and they all buttoned up the back, which was something Ididn't know, which of course meant you had to have a valet, because you couldn't reach 'round there. Collars were all loose collars and the bowties were all hand-tied. I tied my own bowties. Even the suspenders were old-fashioned suspenders. All the silverware was made by the Sheffield firm that made the original. And there were about 18,000 square feet of carpet in the first-class dining room, that was milled by the original firm in England that milled it for the Titanic. It was wonderful.
WEBMASTER: What did you think of the giant tilting ship set?
BERNARD: That was the poop deck. That was very tricky for the people that were on it. They were in harnesses, and they were hooked to the railings, but even so, it must have been three awfully long nights.
WEBMASTER: You did a lot of sitting on that lifeboat. Did you get pretty cold?
BERNARD: Not so much cold, it was done quite quickly, actually, because by the time they got round to it, in an hour dawn was going to break, so we did it, and I sat on that sucker and it capsized three times, and I got banged up a bit. But then it's not in the film, but there is definitely going to be a director's cut, and I'm sure all that stuff will be in it.
WEBMASTER: Did you see Cameron much? Was he always right there?
BERNARD: Oh, yeah. Oh, Yeah. Unbelievable, UNBELIEVABLE. I don't know how he got the energy or kept it up. I mean, the actors would be snoozing away in their dressing rooms and he's up there, boy, and it was cold, it was wintertime in Mexico. It was freezing on the damn poop deck. But he's bouncing around. I'm sitting there one night with my hands shaking, and he bounced by me in a bomber jacket. He said, "Beats the hell out of working, Bernard, huh?"
WEBMASTER: I guess he wasn't working, since he was doing it for free?
BERNARD: Yeah, more or less, yeah.
WEBMASTER: You've been married to Jackie for thirty-six years. How have you dealt with the pressures and temptations of Hollywood in general that's destroyed so many marriages?
Bernard with his wife Jackie in 1996
BERNARD: [he says in a poo-pooing way] Oh, there's not that many temptations as they make out, most people are doing a job, and as I've already explained, if you're a star in a series, you go home, you go to bed. You've got a long day ahead of you the next day. The main pressure for actors of course is that you don't know where the next job's coming from.
WEBMASTER: It's a mental strain.
BERNARD: Yeah. I don't care who it is. The number of actors that must be looking in the job opportunites from time to time are all over. There are a lot of would-be actors who are members of the guild, who basically are not actors. They're doing roofing, or cutting trees down, or what have you. But that's an actor's life. People can hardly actually spend your entire life not knowing where the next job comes from, or whether you'll have any income. And that has been an ongoing strain.
WEBMASTER: It must a take a very laid-back personality to survive so many decades of that.
BERNARD: Yeah, there's that. In England, I did other work. Not in America, I never had to, which is interesting, in Hollywood, I never had to. But in England, I did post office work, I did lumberjacking, I did all sorts of interesting things. I never got 'round to cleaning houses.
WEBMASTER: Did you get to see much of your kids when you were working so hard all those years?
BERNARD: Oh, yeah, sure I did. Of course. I got home every night; had the weekend with the kids. Well, another point, if you're not working, you get to see MORE of your kids than anybody else.
WEBMASTER: Did Jackie work during those years?
BERNARD: No, she never had to work, she WAS an actress, and was doing very well, she toured with "The Moon Is Blue", on the national tour.
WEBMASTER: Now that you're in this huge movie, it's going to win lots of Oscars, you're phone's going to be ringing off the hook. Are there any roles you still want to do?
BERNARD: Yeah. [CHUCKLE] I really would love to get some more comedy character stuff, kind of like Colonel Crittendon, and...
WEBMASTER: Pop in on a sitcom?
BERNARD: Yeah. I would love to do that. I don't want to be overworked, I'd just like to pop in, steal the show, and pop out.
WEBMASTER: That's what you do best! Thank you Bernard, it's been wonderful!
BERNARD: You're very welcome.
Interview ©1998 The Bewitched & Elizabeth Montgomery Web Site. May not be used or reprinted without permission of http://www.bewitched.net
Back to The Bewitched/Elizabeth Montgomery Interviews Page
Back to The Bewitched/Elizabeth Montgomery Interviews Page