I was going to wax poetic about Bill Daily’s friendly, essential presence in two iconic television shows of my youth (I Dream of Jeannie in the sixties–tell me again what the purpose of drugs was? and The Bob Newhart Show in the seventies), but then the link in the Facebook post a friend sent me notifying me of his passing yielded this little gem:

After appearances on the TV comedies Bewitched and The Farmer’s Daughter, Daily attracted the attention of I Dream of Jeannie creator Sidney Sheldon and landed the role of the goofy Roger Healey, the best friend of another NASA astronaut, Anthony Nelson (Larry Hagman), on the fantasy comedy that starred Barbara Eden as a rather attractive genie.

Just as I saw the words “rather attractive genie” next to Barbara Eden’s name, Bill whispered in my ear and said Gee, if I had only faked my death like Tom Sawyer and lived long enough to read that I could have died laughing.

I couldn’t give you a better sendoff than that brother.

Well, maybe besides thanking you for the five hundred times you made me laugh.

[NOTE: Barbara Eden’s “rather” attractiveness was so slightly above average Marilyn Monroe once asked to use her body double. Permission was granted.]

4 thoughts on “COME ON, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY BEST FRIEND (Bill Daily, R.I.P.)

  1. From Neal U.:

    Among many other secondary roles in secondary films:

    Barbara Eden (. . . siiigh . . .) appeared in “Earth Versus The Flying Saucers” (1956), one of the better science-fiction b-movies of the ’50s with stop-motion animation by the master Ray Harryhausen.

    Barbara Eden (. . . siiiiiigh . . .) appeared in “Flaming Star” (1960), one of the better Elvis b-movies of the ’60s but without stop-motion animation by the masterRay Harryhausen.

    Barbara Eden (. . . siiiiiiiiigh . . .) appeared in “The 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao” (1964), a sorta forgotten George Pa production with with stop-motion animation by someone other than the master Ray Harryhausen.

    She didn’t really get a vehicle of her own until “Harper Valley P.T.A” in 1978, in which she is the hottest almost-50-years-old actress of the decade.

    Siiiiiiiiiiiigh . . .

    PS: Bill Daily was a gem in IDoJ, an otherwise silly show (like most so-called comedies on television in the ’60s).

    PPS: Most “special effects” in b movies were rather dreadful at the time. (Thought I’d add that so I could use the word “rather” in a sentence.)

    • Barbara Eden and Ray Harryhausen is too mind-boggling to contemplate…I’ll have to keep an eye out for that one.

      And I’ll hear no bad word against the soul-piercing docudrama that was I Dream of Jeannie….As a native of the Space Coast, I can assure you that the snow-capped mountains of Cocoa Beach never looked better than when occasionally spotted outside Major Nelson’s window. And while putting a man on the moon was admirable, it paled in comparison to the sheer human ingenuity required to imagine a public library within a stone’s throw of Ron Jon’s Surf Shop!

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