1 9 6 3 – 1 9 6 5 (USA)
42 x 30 minute episodes
Writer-comedian Bill Dana had a very successful career on records and in nightclubs with his character José Jiminez (which he originated on the Steve Allen Show) during the 50s and early 60s.
He brought the bewildered Latin American character to life for this series – an NBC spinoff of The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room For Daddy), in which Dana was a frequent guest star.
Jiminez (Dana) was a nasal-sounding Mexican immigrant who worked as a bellhop at the Park Central Hotel, a plush upscale hotel in New York City.
José lived in special bachelor quarters provided for hotel employees, ate in the hotel kitchen and had social contact only with employees and guests of the hotel.
In his good-hearted naivete, he only saw the good in the people around him (a sort of south-of-the-border Forrest Gump prototype).
His colleagues included fellow bellhop Eddie (Gary Crosby, son of Bing), who was constantly trying to get Jose to wise up but usually got him into trouble; coffee shop waitress Susie (Maggie Peterson Mancuso); strict and by-the-book hotel manager Mr Phillips (Jonathan Harris in an early version of his Dr Smith character in Lost In Space); and the bumbling hotel detective Byron Glick (Don Adams in his debut, portraying a character very similar to the one he would soon be playing in Get Smart).
Regular Walter Mitty-style daydream sequences gave the opportunity to see José away from the environs of the hotel.
After the series’ cancellation, Dana continued to revive his José Jimenez character in guest appearances on the most popular variety shows such as The Jackie Gleason Show, The Danny Kaye Show, and The Hollywood Palace.
Within a few years, however, Hispanic-American advocacy groups were beginning to protest the stereotypical images of their culture seen on American television, and most of them no longer found Dana’s act amusing, any more than they did Frito-Lay’s commercial character ‘The Frito Bandito’. In 1968, Dana’s series of telephone company ads in which José promoted the “jellow pages” drew particular ire.
Abandoning his most famous character, Dana entered a relatively quiet period of his career in the 1970s and was little seen on television.
Mr Jerome Phillips
Maggie Peterson Mancuso
You Got To Have Heart (Pilot) | The Hypnotist | José the Playboy | José the Opera Singer | José the Stockholder | The Bank Hold-Up | Honeymoon Suite | José the Agent | The Astronaut | Mr Phillips’ Watch | The Poker Game | Beauty and the Baby| The Brat | José’s Dream Girl | A Tip For Uncle Sam | The Masquerade Party | José’s Four Amigos | Eddie Gets Fired | Speak For Yourself, José | José the Manager | The Party In Suite 15 | José the Matchmaker | José’s Hot Dog Caper | The Hiring Of José | Master Of Disguise | José Resigns | Blood From Two Turnips | Danny Thomas, I Love You | Laughing Gas | The Essay | What Elephant? | José on the Ledge | José the Flower Thief | José’s Inheritance | The Suggestion Box | We’ll Get You For This | Phillips the Lover | Tonsils For Two | Glick the Strongman | Beauty and the Bellhop | José the Old Man | The Court Jester