The Serious Business of Comedy
Some comments taken from newspaper and magazine interviews with Ray Walston and Bill Bixby about their style of work on the series:
RAY WALSTON: " the instincts of the actor are given an opportunity for full freedom there are no stereotypes, no prior works on which to base such a performance " San Diego Union, Nov.17, 1963
Journalist Allyson Sloane reported that Bill Bixby "believes in the spontaneity of the show (so) he never rehearses his lines and reads them just before going on camera. " BILL: "Comedy is spontaneous and thats the only way to keep it. Im just as surprised as the audience." .Movieland and TV Time Oct. 1965
BILL BIXBY: "I dont try to be funny. I guess youd call me an improvisational actor. I dont realize Ive been funny until after Ive done it." The Kansas City Star Oct 15, 1965
RAY WALSTON: "Bill was a lot of fun He was absolutely so good in that kind of comedy. I believe he studied every picture that Cary Grant did, maybe 10 or 15 times. He could do those takes, that light stuff, he was wonderful.".Sha-boom Magazine June 1990
BILL BIXBY: " I attribute a lot of my improvement to working with Ray. Ive been very lucky in working with people I could learn from." The Kansas City Star, Oct 15, 1965
RAY WALSTON: "The only way I can make the Martian believable and not just a magician is to absorb the character, to feel it. Then when you have to read lines that were rewritten two minutes before, it comes out perfectly in character." TV GUIDE Apr 11, 1964
In referring to how in doing the special effects, the actors sometimes have to stop in mid-sentence and continue without missing a beat, RAY WALSTON said, " You must switch from concentration on what youre doing as an actor to concentration on how you must freeze, and then back again. And with all the delays, we still turn out an episode in three and a half days." Boston Sunday Advertiser, Feb 20, 1966
RAY WALSTON: "I used to lie in bed at night and mentally go over the script and the directors instructions to see whether I could remember it all. Then I decided to buy a tape recorder, which I found to be the best way to learn lines. I put the entire script on the recordermy own part and the cues of the other actors. This affords me an opportunity to listen even when Im doing my exercises. As a result, I never have any problems with my lines."
Family Weekly, May 2, 1965(added 6/28/02)
Once in a while, bits of Martian dialogue that named odd gadgets appeared in the script, but since those words used English phonics, Mr.Walston said he sometimes pronounced the phrases backwards, which gave the language a more alien pattern and flow. RAY WALSTON: "I think kids may dig a few strange sounding terms."
Boston Sunday Advertiser April 12, 1964___________________________________________________(added 11/25/02)
RAY WALSTON: "Bill has always possessed an innate comedy quality that to this day I dont think anyone else can do. Hes a master at energetic, physical comedyat wild-but-always-controlled body movements, at jumping up and down at doing double-takes, yet still keeping it all believable. Hes an enormously bright and multi-talented fellow."
More quotes from Bill Bixby about working on My Favorite Martian
The HOUSTON CHRONICLE . Aug 6, 2000
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