I was a kid in the seventies and I would stay up and watch Saturday Night Live… Mr. Bill got my attention right away. The hapless Mr. Bill would live in fear of Mr. Hands and Sluggo.
The poor guy and his dog Spot were kicked, punched, buried, burned, stabbed, stepped on, and dropped from the Empire State Building. At school, there was a lot of Ohhhh Nooooo…when someone fell or got hurt.
Walter Williams invented Mr. Bill in 1973 and after SNL had a contest for anyone to submit home movies…Walter and Vance DeGeneres made the first film with an 8mm camera. Lorne liked Mr. Bill and it premiered in the first season…Walter wasn’t paid anything for them for a while but he kept sending them in and Lorne Michaels kept airing them.
Walter eventually was hired as a staff writer in the 4th and 5th season and wrote skits and for the Weekend Update. After the 5th season, he left the show with the original cast but did make a couple of more Mr. Bill’s for SNL that aired in 1981 to bring the total number to 24 Mr Bill Shows.
Mr. Bill’s popularity never completely waned and Walter Williams has made episodes for Fox TV and commercials for different products.
Vance DeGeneres originated “Mr Hands” and helped William film a few of the first films and later sued Williams for part ownership. The judge awarded DeGeneres some money but ruled that the basic idea was Willaims.
From Wiki…SNL Appearances
- February 28, 1976 (The Mr. Bill Holiday Special)
- October 16, 1976 (Mr. Bill Goes To A Party)
- January 22, 1977 (Mr. Bill Goes To A Magic Show)
- March 25, 1978 (Mr. Bill Goes To The Circus)
- April 8, 1978 (Mr. Bill Pays His Taxes)
- October 14, 1978 (Mr. Bill Goes To New York)
- October 21, 1978 (Mr. Bill Moves In)
- November 18, 1978 (Mr. Bill Goes Fishing)
- December 2, 1978 (Mr. Bill Is Late)
- January 27, 1979 (Mr. Bill Goes To Court)
- February 24, 1979 (Mr. Bill Shapes Up)
- March 17, 1979 (Mr. Bill Is Hiding)
- May 12, 1979 (Mr. Bill Runs Away)
- May 19, 1979 (Mr. Bill Goes To The Movies)
- May 26, 1979 (Mr. Bill Visits Saturday Night Live; cold open)
- October 13, 1979 (The All-New Mr. Bill Show)
- November 3, 1979 (Mr. Bill Stays Home)
- November 17, 1979 (Mr. Bill Builds A House)
- January 26, 1980 (Mr. Bill Gets Help)
- April 5, 1980 (Mr. Bill Strikes Back)
- May 10, 1980 (Mr. Bill Gets 20 Years In Sing Sing)
- December 20, 1980 (Mr. Bill’s Christmas Special)
- April 11, 1981 (cold open with Chevy Chase)
- October 17, 1981 (Mr. Bill Goes To L.A.; final appearance)
Interview with Walter Williams