When I first met Freddie, he was only 18 years old, and didn't
know how to drive. He was still living with his Mom Maria, and his Dad Karl, in New York. He had been on a couple
of big T.V. shows already, namely Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson.
As You all know, he was a smash on Carson, and Sammy Davis,
Jr. was also on Carson that night, and loved Freddie's performance.
No first-time guest ever got to sit on the couch when on
the Johnny Carson show. Johnny wouldn't allow anyone to sit with him on the first, or sometimes second time on.
That is just the way he was. I suppose he felt you had to earn your dues. But after Freddy finished, and the audience
was clapping for him, Sammy Davis, Jr., who was sitting talking with Johnny, waived to Freddy to come and sit down.
And Johnny, looked surprised but he too, waived for Freddie to come and sit. It had to be a first!
Anyway, Johnny fell in Love with Freddy, and even had Freddy
Co-Host his show when he was off. Freddie was just incredible, and such a talent! But through all of this, Freddie
still didn't know how to drive, and did not have a car. He loved going fast, and it gave him a thrill, and he was just
a kid at heart, in "Hollywoodland"
But remember, the key to all I am saying, is Freddy didn't
know how to drive. Well, when we began doing Chico, he had an apartment in Hollywood, at 7777 Hollywood Blvd., and it
was way across town from where I lived in El Sereno, a little town in East Los Angeles. But Freddy used
to ask me if he could borrow my Cadillac. He loved my El Dorado, especially when he found out it used to belong to Hoss
from Bonanza. Plus, it was a gorgeous automobile.
Well I had asked Freddy if he had his license, and if he
had insurance, and also if he knew
how to drive. He was very convincing, that he did know how to drive, and he would take good care of "Hoss." (I
named the car after Dan Blocker) So, I wanted to be a pal to him and I let him borrow the car. I left him the car on
a Saturday morning, and let him borrow it for the weekend. He brought the car to me on Monday to the studios, (NBC)
and I couldn't believe my eyes. The car was wrecked on all four sides! Front, sides, and trunk. Ay Dios
That rascal and prankster made mince-meat out of my beautiful
El Dorado Cadillac! I am not kidding you, I was in shock! It was too much! How in the world could Freddy
have wrecked it on all sides? So, I went lookinf for him and I couldn't find him anywhere. He was hiding from
me, and was scared to death. I had a reputation, as a dude not to mess with, and Freddie was really scared.
Yeah I was upset, but when I found Freddie, he had a way
of "charming" you, that you couldn't help but not be mad. Freddy was definitely a charmer, and schmoozer, and boy did
he ever put on a show for me. Freddie was such a cutie, that he could charm a snake from a snake charmer! He had
my car fixed, but the car was never the same after that.
Freddy would then borrow my caddy and tell me, "C'mon Zak...I
couldn't mess it up any more, could I?" But Freddy the prankster did. He was a prankster for sure, but a charming
one! Que loco, mi amigo Freddie!..
Hi Everyone! I was
looking at some old photos of me & Freddie, and I ran across an old piece of paper, that had a skit I had written for
Freddie, (which he never used) and I started laughing and laughing, as I was remembering our conversation, and how me and
Freddie were practically rolling on the floor, of his old apartment on Hollywood Blvd. (7777 to be exact)
Anyway, I thought I would share it with you all.
As I go through memorabilia, of Freddie and the show, at times it is very difficult, because I began to cry thinking of my
friend, and his pain, and then it starts all over again, and I begin remembering the sad things, and it becomes painfull.
There was a side of Freddie that I wish all of you
could have known. A side that would have you in stitches, and tears, from laughing so hard. A side without the
drugs, pills, and alcohol that showed Freddie as the little kid he was.
Freddie loved to crack up, and I am so privilidged
to have had sessions with Freddie, either at my home, his apartment, or his Mom's, that were hilarious. They should
have been taped, and they would have made Freddie millions!
Forgive me for being redundant, but Freddie was a
genious! That kid had more talent in one finger, than I have in my whole body! What a funny, funny, young man.
The shows, the tapes, or whatever there is on Freddie,
do not fully compliment his talent. He was funnier off camera, than in front of it.
Anyway, on with the story. I have told you the
story, of how Freddie would call me on a Saturday, and lure me to his apartment to show me his "new skit". Well, this
was partially true, because he would do his new skit for me, but the real intent, was to borrow my Cadillac El Dorado, that
I had bought from "Hoss", Dan Blocker of Bonanza.
But one particular Saturday, I called Freddie, and
told him I had something to show him, and Freddie kept bugging me to tell him what it was. I said no, I'll tell him
when I see him at his apartment. He said NO! Either I tell him on the phone, or he was going to go to the highest
building in Hollywood, write a suicide note saying that Mando, from Chico & The Man pushed him, and he would personally
make a phone call to the police department.
When I asked him where would the phone come from,
he said he would do an s.o.s. on the telephone wire. He would act like a stubborn little kid, (but on purpose) that
has to have his way. He was so funny! So I gave in, and told him I had written a skit for him, that I wanted him
to see. He would then say, I should have went to that high building! LOL He was too much. What timing!
Anyway, I began to tell him the skit, and before I
continue...you must tune in again on Thursday to hear Mando & Chico, part ll, & what happened. Or
as Paul Harvey would say, "The rest of the story"....talk to you Thursday....Mando
So, I began to tell Freddie about the skit I had written.
Before I continue, I must tell you, that comedians
such as Freddie, Richard Prior, David Brenner, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, all have egos bigger than you can imagine, and will
not take skits written by a friend, or someone else.
Freddie, and Richard Prior, were every bit like that.
So, when Freddie told me he would listen, that was a "biggie!" (I had even tried, to give, some material to Richard
Prior, but though it was funny, he wouldn't use it.) It wasn't personal, but just one of those "comedian" things.
Well, Freddie would sit in front of me making these
funny, funny faces, and acting as if he was bored, and all the distracting type of things, and almost closing his
eyes, like he was falling asleep. He was making me laugh, but he was also getting me upset!
I told him, "c'mon Freddie, don't be cold!"
and he'd say, "O.K., O.K., I was just messing with you!" Then he would say, "Wait Zak, let me go to the bathroom!"
and I'd say again, c'mon Freddie, quit fooling around, I'm serious here!"
Then Freddie would grab himself by the crotch as guys
do when they have to go, and ran to the bathroom. I mean, it was frustrating, cause though I loved Freddie, and we were
friends, Freddie had ways of annoying you on purpose, so he could get a reaction out of you.
Freddie as a comedian, was a genious. I have
said this many times before! Once he got a reaction out of someone, if it was funny....he would use it in one of his
skits. That's how he used to write. About true life situations.
So anyway, I am waiting now about 15-20 minutes, and
am shouting, "Freddie...FREDDIE!" and he wouldn't answer. So I would go over to the bathroom, and there was Freddie,
sitting on the John, with his clothes on, and reading the funnies from the newspaper.
He would get me so mad, then I would say F_ _ _ you
Freddie, you Chicken S _ _ _. and he'd come back and say c'mon Zak, I was only foolin'. You gotta admit brotha,
it was funny!
And I'd say, Freddie, I came all the way from East
L.A. to see you man, and you didn't make me laugh this time, but you did manage to piss me off! Then Freddie would grab
a knife from the kitchen and go into a Puerto Rican accent and say, "My bru-ther. Jew R rite! I am a peeg!
I am a F_ _ _ _ _ G peeg, who does not de-surv to leave!"
and he would grab the knife with both hands on the
end of the handle, and act like he was going to stab himself, Kamakasi style, then he would put his hand over his forehead,
like someone in distress, and close his eyes, then turn and look at me and say...
"Goodbye, mamacita mia, goodbye papacito, goodbye...Ed
Brown's garage, goodbye jonny Car-sun, good bye louie, my gar-bage snoop-ing ne-grito,
and goodbye to jew...man-do..my goood a-mi-go, no
by then I couldn't hold back from laughing, and laughing,
and Freddie would begin to laugh himself, and we would be rolling crackin up! I was no longer mad, and Freddie "won"
again, but after we finished laughing, Freddie pointed to me as if to say, "I got ya bro!"
But this time, I got the last laugh because I told
Freddie..."Yah, my man, you got me, but guess what? I'm still going to do my skit for you!" Freddie just rolled
his eyes, and fell on the couch as if to say..Oh S_ _ _! So, tune in on Monday, to hear the "rest of the story, and
"Mando's skit!" (part lll)