Busy with television guest spots (Twilight Zone, Highway to Heaven) and commercials (Long John Silver Restaurants, Pace Pacante, Connoco Gas) he mentioned he was most proud of his guest spot on Highway to Heaven which also guest starred the late Jon Lormer in his last appearance.
Following is part of our conversation.
Have you been receiving the newsletters?
DF No. Well, I'm pretty easy. Well you know, all these years...
Tell us...what is it like to be an actor? To go before a camera.
DF It's like, well..I don't think in terms of thousands-millions of people watching. You can't do that. It's a job. To me it's a job and you have to enjoy doing it, which makes it interesting. It's like I did this commercial for Connoco with like a 120 times we did it. It was totally bizarre. Well 45 times per section and we did 3 sections. So you gotta enjoy it.
It must get tiresome doing the same thing over and over...
DF Yeah, but you gotta think of the residuals and that sort of thing. It's a business.
MC Do you have anything coming up we can watch for?
DF Possibly. I'm going to Texas to work on a movie.
What type of movie is this?
DF It'll be contemporary, I'm a survivalist.
That should be fun...play with the toy guns.
DF Yeah, and my son Chris will be in it too.
Will this be the first you've worked together?
DF No, we've done a...he stood in for me and was like a stand-in-stuntman that sort of thing on a movie called "A Summer to Remember" with James Farrentino. It was ironic. It was done in Salem, Oregon. The animals used in this particular sequence I was involved with were from here, where I live. They had shipped 'em up there. I couldn't believe it cos I'd recognized some of the animals and thought ...wait a minute! They had taken 'em all the way up.
What kind of animals?
DF Giraffes, camels...he has the orangutan Mr. Smith--you know from Mr. Smith goes to college. The orangutan plays Mr. Smith. He also has the cougar for Lincoln-Mercury.
Do you like working with animals?
DF Yeah, if they're predictable. It's one thing to have that, then another thing when the lights go on. They freak out and it gets dangerous.
What happened to THE STALLIONS?
DF I really don't know.
Do you know if it went directly to tape?
DF I don't know if it's done that, even.
It hasn't been retitled?
DF Not that I know of. I don't know what the problem is. It went from the director...the writer/director to a lady-an English lady-and it just kind of got lost somewhere. It may show up.
Do you think Westerns may be coming back?
DF It looks like it cos they're doing another Long Riders and The Young Riders and the Old Riders...it seems to be picking up. Paradise has gotten good reviews.
Yeah, when I last spoke to Monty he had been working on it and
it had been canceled. I haven't spoken with him since that.
DF It got renewed for 8 or 9...as I understand. It was an interesting interview with Monty.
He's a funny man. I like him.
DF He's really neat. When we were doing the series I asked him if he'd come over and do some stunts for a friend of my son's. They were like 5 or 6 and it was his friend's birthday. Monty came over and did some falls off the back building. He did some pretty neat stuff, just out of the goodness of his heart.
Can we talk about Smith and Jones? I know it's been a hundred
DF Yeah...go ahead.
Do you recall a fellow named Hal Frizzell?
What did you think of him?
DF He was the stand-in for Pete. Monty stood in for Ben. What did I think of him? I like him. He got a little strange after Pete's demise.
He stayed with the show?
DF Yeah, for a little bit. He got drunk one night and he let out a lot of a lot of stuff I didn't want to hear, I guess. But I didn't mind him.
Do you think drugs or alcohol affected Pete's work?
DF I think not drugs, uh-uh. If anything did it was the alcohol-if there was any noticeable change. But he always said that when he was hung over, that he did a better job-he laughed about it-or he felt he did.
Sometimes that's true. You work harder.
DF That or you're just kind of relaxed enough you don't care. And depending on the character it will work.
You were at the California funeral. What kind of service was that?
DF What do you mean--what kind?
It was held at the Self Realization Temple. I am not at all familiar
DF I thought it was a civil, very intellectual type ceremony, not denoting any denomination. I had no objections.
One last question. Had Peter ever spoken about suicide?
DF No. He never did.
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