This is the complete transcript of the commentary provided by Robert Culp to accompany the I SPY Volume # 20 DVD (featuring "So Long Patrick Henry", "The Loser" and "The Tiger.") While certainly nothing can replace the thrill of hearing Culp reminisce about I SPY, this transcript is provided primarily for those I SPY fans who are unable to acquire or play that DVD.
I'm doing this, of course, without the usual permissions but I don't feel I'm treading on anyone's toes or taking money out of anyone's pocket because the availability of this transcript isn't going to cause anyone to say "Oh, well, since I have this I don't need to buy the DVDs." If anything, I think it might encourage a few who weren't planning to make the purchase to change their minds. And, as those familiar with this website may have already figured out, my goal is to create an online history of this ground-breaking series, and these commentaries are an essential part of that history. This is also for those non-Region 1 I SPY fans who have written me; I hope this makes you feel better and not worse!
So, over the next four months I wrote four scripts. Early morning, January 1st, after New Year's Eve. It was New Year's Day, and I was alone, and I was walking through the house, and everybody else -- well, my wife was asleep. And it was a large house, and the kids had a wing of bedrooms, and I went to the master control of the intercom throughout the house, which is around the corner in the living room, and I started punching through the stations, and there was a child crying on every station, in every bedroom, including the playroom. I sort of freaked out, I guess, and I punched the wall beside the intercom. And I broke my hand. I looked at it and it was bent and I said "Oh geez, I broke my hand. This is terrific. I type with that hand." And so I drove to the hospital with one hand and I came home in a cast and then I went up to my office and went back to work. Hunt and peck, because I had a big cast on my right hand and I had only one finger stinking out -- and my thumb. Later in the day my wife woke up and said "Well, where did that come from?" She thought the cast was a joke, a gag. So I showed her the dent in the seven-ply wall.
At this point I'm pretty much living in my office, and I was going around the clock with catnaps. I found for the first time, absolutely, that I had a trick up my sleeve. When you hit a wall -- when you hit a block -- that you can't go further in a scene, go over and lay down on the sofa, go to sleep for five minutes, ten, fifteen minutes, wake up, you've always got the answer. I always had the answer. I knew where to go afterwards. It was amazing. Just an absolutely amazing trick, and it still works for me today.
So the first two scripts were shaping up pretty nicely by February -- "So Long Patrick Henry" and "The Loser" -- and I went back and forth between them as the ideas came to me. "The Loser" was actually ready first, and I was very excited about it. It was stolen, lifted, from a story by Sam Peckinpah, and I told Bill to get ready for a Valentine's Day present, and I sent him a copy of this script, which I thought, if I've psyched the story dynamic properly, is going to change his life. It had already occurred to me in conversations -- I mean, I wasn't totally out of touch with the guys in the office; I just didn't tell them what I was doing -- it occurred to me from everything I was hearing over there that nobody was ever going to give Bill a girl. He was never going to get the girl. That was like -- they didn't even want to touch that subject, it was so scary. And I said "Okay, I know how to beat that. I think I do." Because there's one thing in drama which approximates love. And that single thing that approximates romantic love is compassion. You can scarcely tell them apart, except for the activities before and after, but the emotion itself can be there, and it's every bit as powerful -- sometimes it's more powerful -- than love itself. Okay.
That's what this was about. That's what it was rooted in. The script caught up with him on the road exactly on the 14th, on Valentine's Day. I remember that. So does he, even to now. And by early March, let's see, I finished "So Long Patrick Henry" and one other, "The Tiger." "The Tiger" was quite fascinating, based on some stuff -- actually "The Tiger" was the one that was based on my pilot that I wrote that got me together with Sheldon in the first place, because I brought it to Carl Reiner and Carl took it on to Sheldon. That was essentially that story; the core of it was what is the core of "The Tiger." And I knew I had time to finish one more script before shooting was supposed to start on the first nine shows, so I pulled out all the stops with the last one, the fourth one, and it was going to be a James Bond concerto for two -- it was very funny and exotic, awesome characters surrounding Scott and Kelly, and the backstory stolen from a little known novel of the same name called Court of the Lion. And we'll talk about that later when we get to "Court of the Lion."
So, I'm going along, pecking away, and one day in early March the phone rang. It was Sheldon, and it was the phone call I had been dreading. No frills. He got right to it. They -- whoever "they" are -- wanted to replace Bill. And by that time it was my habit to respond to Sheldon instantly and casually, if possible, and I did -- "Oh, that's fine. No problem. Replace him. You'll have to replace me, too." He said, "Now, don't get upset." And I said "Who's upset?" He said, "Well, anyway, calm down. I had to make the call." And I said "Of course." And he repeated himself with some more stuff about "they" and "them" and he finished up by saying, I remember, "Work hard on your tennis" and don't worry, he will take care of "it" -- and we hung up.
I tried to go back to work but I couldn't really, and I guess, coming to me, the idea of replacing Bill or me -- it wasn't possible. 'Cause I already knew what we were together and there wasn't another black guy and there wasn't another white guy in the country who could have represented the potential that we represented. It was just -- they weren't there. I knew who the guys were. I knew who was there. There just wasn't anybody there. Nobody ever would have been able to pull those two guys together.
Well, anyway, none of this stuff mattered; I went back to work, and I kept working, and realized that as long as Sheldon goes ahead with making all thirteen episodes, I felt I had enough, right there on my desk, to pull the situation out, whatever happened. In the four months before the April start I'd turned out four I Spy scripts, roughly one a month -- "So Long Patrick Henry", "The Loser", "The Tiger", "Court of the Lion". So far so good. And they were good. They were very good. I was knocked out. I am a severe critic, especially writing for one-hour shows, and I had never seen anything, I felt, that was as good, consistently, as these four shows for pulling the characters of these two guys up and putting them center.
The hard part, obviously, was going to be handing them in, unsolicited. Surprise, surprise. And for reasons of story structure -- well, "So Long Patrick Henry" was turned in first for the simple reason that I felt the teaser and the stock footage and stuff, and the black and white footage that we shot handheld as if it was real, like news coverage of a news event, which was what predicated the story -- I thought it was so topical, at that point, that I thought it was a good idea to turn that in first. It was kind of like "safe," because, although it wasn't a real situation and it was fictional, it had the aura of authenticity about it, like news film. And there was no cool way to do it, to hand it in, I just walked in one day and handed it to Mort, and I said, "I think you'll like this one. It's got a new concept for the teaser." Which it did. "And maybe it'll work for us on a regular basis." And I was, you know, jaunty jolly, like I do this every day, and he just sat there, man, and held it in his hand. He asked very few questions after the initial, understandable "Where in hell did this come from?" and I just kept smiling and saying, "Mort, read it."
And he called in a couple day and said, "Well, Sheldon's reading it. He's got a couple....Well, it's got a couple of good things. But, you know, listen -- " I can't remember this dialogue exactly, but it's pretty close -- "Listen, man, you can't do this. I mean, if you have an idea, that's terrific. I mean, we all know you write. But, you know the rules, you've got to give us a couple of pages first. What it's about, an outline. We're trying to run a store here, you know?" I said, "Oh. Oh, yeah, a couple pages, huh? And act breaks, and that kind of stuff." He said, "Yeah. You know." I said, "Well, I certainly do now. You always work that way? From an outline?" And he said, "Always. You have to. It's TV." I said, "Right. Okay, okay. Well, I do have one other. I'll get you a couple of pages as soon as I can." And I hung up and I sat there and I thought, well, what the hell, go ahead and do it. He just gave me the perfect way in. Use it.
Pulling "The Loser" down to a mere outline was an absolutely maddening process. Harder than writing it. God, I hate outlines. It took a couple of days to get the three pages, and I turned them in, and the next day Mort called, and he said, kidding me about my spelling, which really pissed me off, because I knew then I was lousy at spelling, and always have been, he said, "Oh, it's interesting. Yeah. Good title. 'The Loser.' Go ahead, write it." The next day I walked into his office and handed him the finished script of "The Loser." He stared at it for a while with this tiny frown, and then he got it. Oh, man, what a great moment that was. It was worth the whole four months and the busted hand and all the rest of it. He looked up at me with a tired smile and said, "You son of a bitch." Quietly, you know. It's not a big deal. And at that moment I realized I liked this guy better than I had thought I did.
Okay, two down, two to go. Lucky so far. Lucky these two, "So Long Patrick Henry" and "The Loser" came first in line and dropped so easily into slots for production among the first nine scripts to be shot. They were the most important I Spy's that I would write. Not necessarily the best but certainly the most significant to the series. "The Loser" got all of us nominated for Emmys the first year. I forget exactly, but Eartha Kitt was nominated, Bill was nominated, I was nominated, and Sheldon was nominated that year for Best Direction, which, in this case, was all the overseas stuff, and he didn't win, but Bill won. Four Emmys off the one show, I mean nominations. Cos won his first Emmy, and for Bill, it did exactly -- this is the thing. This is what is so important -- for Bill it did exactly what I wanted it to do. It erased the one remaining question mark to his status as a leading man. And from there on he could get, and he did get, and lose, the girl, just like any other series leading man. You know, in a series the leading man has a romance with a girl and you've got to kill her off, because he's got to come back and do the same thing next week. So in this case we didn't kill her off, but she went off into limbo in not-too-promising fashion. And she was the title's title, the loser.
And I was secretly very proud of this advent script for several other arcane reasons. First of all, I figured out the trick for how to solve the dilemma for us and for Bill before anybody else even perceived it was a serious problem; that is to say, him getting the girl. And secondly, it automatically raised the bar of story potential and widened the whole field of personal relationships between characters for the life of the series. Third, and not that important to anybody else, I had stolen the core story, I think I mentioned, from an old and dear friend, Sam Peckinpah, who wrote the tale originally as a half-hour western many years before, and it was the most powerful, poetic, simple statement of dreadful human irony that I had ever seen. I called him the night before "The Loser" aired, and I told him what I'd done, and he laughed and gave me his blessing, and I never did find out if he saw the show. He was having his own problems. I only ever really had one real knock-down -- well, serious fight -- with Sheldon, out in the open, and that was about Peckinpah, because he was on the beach, as they say. I mean, he was persona non grata, and I kept going to Sheldon saying, "Look, the guy's never been over-budget in his life, not for television, and this man knows his stuff. He will be great for us and great for the show. Take a chance. And he wouldn't do it, and he wouldn't do it. He never told me exactly why. And we practically came to a screaming match over it. Anyways, the worst, the only real bad fight we ever had, and the end was he wouldn't hire Sam Peckinpah to direct a one-hour television show.
Learning to play the game
Me and the tennis. I don't know what to say exactly, but I don't know how to play tennis at all. At that point. I didn't learn the game until after the show. In the last month, I guess, the last month before shooting episodes began, I found a tennis pro. Guy's name was Forrest Stewart. Terrific guy. He came to the house every day. We used an empty tennis court next door, which I always wanted to buy but we never got a chance to, and we spent some long hours in the hot sun. I felt great but it was far more difficult than I thought. I told Forrest never mind the game of tennis. I don't have time to learn it. That's impossible. Takes years. Takes a lifetime. You just have to teach me the moves. The strokes. So, the last two weeks we pounded the ball eight hours a day. I kid you not. Seven days a week, in blazing Valley heat. And Forrest gave me solid strokes and a decent forehand. A good backhand, knees bent, down to the ball. Half volley, a strong net game. My overhead sucked, but it always did and still does. I had a helluva serve, in either court. And I had not the faintest idea how you played the game! But, in quick cuts, I thought I could get away with the moves if the moves looked good. And I didn't learn how to play, as I say, until after the series was over. Yet I was in great shape. I was in the best shape in years, and Stewart later became my stunt double once or twice, until somebody pointed out that we looked nothing alike in build, and Jerry Rush, a tennis pro, beanpole and former band singer, was my double for a while. He even played a few bits in episodes. Jerry became my pal, and my tennis teacher for life.
I was genuinely surprised in this same time period when Sheldon asked me to pick the two directors who should alternate on the first nine shows. He said, "Look, I don't know all that much about this scene -- the hour show on television today -- but you do. You've been doing this steadily now for years. Who do you like best?" I was surprised and flattered, and I said, "Okay," and I picked the two directors I knew best, Mark Rydell and Leo Penn. Mark I'd worked with as an actor in New York and knew him quite well, and Leo I knew less but well enough because I'd worked for him as an actor before. Both of these guys were the very, very best. The top of the line. Didn't get any better, directing in television. Mark Rydell, of course, went on to be a huge star as a director. They drew lots for scripts -- get this -- in shooting sequence, on paper slips out of a hat. Literally. And it was very, very...the luck was really with us. 'Cause Leo, who was perfect for "So Long Patrick Henry," picked that one, and Mark, who was perfect for "The Loser," got that one. And out of the first nine those were my two scripts. And these guys were perfectly matched for these two shows. I was just, you know, I was really ecstatic.
About this time Bill got back from the grind of club dates and we met at the studio. Checked out our dressing rooms. They were kind of bare, and no personality, really. But they were adjoining, and had a secretary's office in between, which was great. We hired a secretary to take care of our stuff -- mail, stuff like that -- jointly, and we both paid her jointly. And she sat in the middle.
While we were there, that day when we first came on the set and looked at our dressing rooms and stuff -- this was before going overseas -- we wandered onto the set of The Dick Van Dyke Show to watch Carl Reiner, of all people, who was directing. 'Cause, you've got to remember, he hasn't gone away and done his movie yet, which was The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming. He was still slipping in to do some episodes, to direct for The Dick Van Dyke Show. That was a fateful, fateful meeting. It's funny and it's cute and it's humorous, but boy I mean it was important. Because that was the morning that Carl warned us, kidding on the square, never to rehearse in front of Sheldon. He said, "Look, he's going to come in every morning just like a clock. What you do is, you're in the middle of rehearsals, stop cold. Don't rehearse in front of him for the life of you. And sit down, bring him coffee, josh with him, tell stories, tell jokes, kid him around, have fun, and then he'll go away. And then you can go back to work." I am forever, and will be forever, beholden to Carl Reiner. First for getting me and then getting Bill and putting us together, but mostly for revealing this, that early, that I was not alone in my distrust of Sheldon's creative side. What is truly astonishing, even now, is the easy way Carl handled Sheldon. It was trick that Bill learned very easily and very quickly, and I never did.
Ed Hilley was the red-faced production manager on the first trip to Hong Kong. He was no longer with us, and in his place was a strutting, posturing, utterly delightful man who started out in life as a ballet dancer. His name was Leon Chooluck. Now, Leon really, truly is out of Damon Runyon; he's Santa Claus in muftees, a right jolly old elf. He was too good to be true for us but he was true. Leon was the little engine that could, puffing over the mountain, and he got us there, wherever we needed to go. He was our mother hen, our merry drill sergeant. He was a guy who believed nearly anything was possible. And he certainly was the right guy in the right job. Great courage and imagination, a sense of humor, down to the dark center of his poetic Russian ballet dancer soul. Both Bill and I took to him in a flash and realized quickly that he was both the brains and the brawn of this outfit below the line, if you know what I mean, and if you had a problem forget anybody else -- go to Leon. And we were blessed by his presence. For me, Leon turned out to be one of the luckiest pennies ever to surface in my life. Not once but twice. Especially with regard to the episode called "The Warlord," which we'll get to in a while.
Um, Leon made sure that we got all our shots in the newly-opened Leon Clinic, on the lot, and we flew back to Hong Kong, this time for six very long weeks. And again Sheldon's wisdom prevailed and we did not take our wives or kids. It was a right decision, as it turned out. We stayed at the Peninsula Hotel on the Kowloon side once more -- I mean, again -- and, well, let's see, the first day of shooting was a true -- oh boy, it was a nightmare. It was so slow and nothing seemed to work and the whole day was tennis, all on me and a stunt man, a local tennis pro who was supposed to blow up in mid-set when he stepped on a land mine buried at the center line. All the tennis courts in Hong Kong are clay because of the weather. Now this one, which was on a rich estate, which we used in the background, had disintegrated from years of neglect. Now, it had been recently rolled and marked, but when you stepped on it, it turned to sand. So soon we were up to our shoe tops. It was like playing tennis in a big sandbox. And they tried and tried to fix it but it didn't help. And we started early, early in the morning, and then the heat closed in and the humidity was really a shock to me. The other guy was used to it. He was a pro who lived there and I could only think all day long: Thank God for Forrest Stewart running my ass off for the last two weeks in 90 degree heat. But dry heat, not this horrible humidity. By noon I felt like I'd played a hot dozen hard sets.
Sheldon and Fouad decided it was time for my closeups, Mr. DeMille, and they asked if I was okay and I said sure, let's go, and I struggled through the soft, sandy court, and we got pieces for several different shows. I was turning, I remember, dark red from the clouds of clay dust sticking to my hands, my arms, which were soaking wet, and my tennis whites, which were even wetter, and by dusk I was the red man and I was ready to drop, and I'd never worked so hard in my whole life.
Bill was long gone to the hotel and the blessed air conditioning. I got back to the hotel. It was dark. I was feeling sluggish, dead-tired. I took a hot bath and I went right to bed. And I woke up in the middle of the night, suddenly, coughing. Coughing. And my throat got tighter with every cough, and pretty quick I was on my hands and knees and I couldn't get a breath, and I thought: Whoa, this is ridiculous. I've got to get out of this room, into the hall, and get to Bill, down the hall. And I passed out cold on the hotel room floor. Then I came to, and I didn't strangle or anything. My throat opened up. But I didn't know what it was. It was very scary and I got in the hot bath again and I went back to bed and I slept through the night this time.
Next night same thing. After two nights of this I was weak as a kitten and I was still running a fever. Obviously I had the flu. What kind of flu I had no idea. Now, the next day, after the first two days, the third day, Bill and I had to run up a mountain path for "So Long, Patrick Henry." And I was determined to do it or croak in the process. And I just...I couldn't make it. My legs just wouldn't work. They were just like noodles. Bill grabbed my belt in back, under my jacket, and carried me up the goddamned mountain with one hand. And we're running along side by side, camera was rolling from across the ravine, and my feet were scarcely touching the path. Looks great. And they said: "Oh! Print it!" Unless you look very very closely today you still can't see Bill's hand carrying me from underneath my coat.
The next day, when we were scrambling over the rooftops allegedly from dark until dawn, it was the same thing -- me staggering and Bill making wisecracks and carrying me by the belt so that you can't see it. He checked on me every night by phone from his room down the hall. I began to relax and sleep through the night. The weakness was persistent and the flu bug or whatever it was hung on for the next six months and then it was gone forever and I never did find out what it was.
We had extremely good luck shooting the exteriors for my two scripts. Some of the others that we shot in the same time frame are a little vague in my mind, but those two remain vivid, and both of them were written after the prior trip there for Sheldon's proposed test film, and they contained some nice, really nice, details that I remembered from the firsthand experience of the time before. For example, there's a ferry that goes back and forth -- then, this is 1965 we're talking about -- between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, and it goes back and forth constantly. There's always a ferry in the water going back and forth, like a bus almost. Kind of like the ferries I remember as a kid in San Francisco Bay. They may not be there anymore. Maybe they've bridges and stuff now, I don't know. They were kind of primitive affairs, these ferries, but they worked and they were always stuffed with people, and I figured out how to work that in. I had myself dropped off the back of one of those ferries on the way to Hong Kong in a huge big trash barrel that I'd been welded into. It's hard to explain past that, but anyway all you see is the trash can being dumped over the back end of the ferry. But if I hadn't been there I wouldn't have thought of it.
Mort and David had only one script in this batch. It was called "A Cup of Kindness." It was a better script than the show we made out of it. David Friedkin, who had been a stage actor in his youth, played the guest star role, since he was there anyway to share directing chores with Sheldon. Truth be told, David was very clear to us in stating, back in Los Angeles, that he should not get saddled with playing the role just because Sheldon didn't want the expense of taking another actor all the way to Hong Kong. We should have listened to him instead of making light of his protests and egging him on because David, you know, it's been a long time -- he's a little awkward and nervous and a tiny bit wooden and instead of projecting something of tarnished nobility the character emerged kind of in the realm of Craven Snidely. And even Bill, who likes David, and is understandably forgiving of weak actors realized that we had made a mistake. Sheldon tried to gloss over the problem but David was still painfully aware that his performance was hurting his own script and that he was stuck with it.
I watched him sweat and panic on camera and suddenly I began really to get scared. I was worried about me playing my own stuff. I mean, I'd done it before, but this time it was for all the marbles.And I thought, Jeez, am I gonna short circuit and panic under that much pressure, as David was doing? Would I screw up everything that I'd been breaking my ass to achieve all this while? Was my hubris going to do me in? Fortunately, none of the exteriors for my stuff were crucial to character for either Bill or for me and the work went very smoothly. All the important scenes in both of my scripts were going to be shot back home with directors I could trust, thank God. Bill and I were both learning very quickly what to go for and what to avoid on these location shoots without real directors, guys who were sort of phoning it in. He was getting stronger and more savvy every day.
Shooting in the streets of Hong Kong
On our first trip to the Far East, our multi-skilled cinematographer, Fouad Said, ran into a serious problem, I recall vividly, with the local Chinese citizens in the streets. At the sight of a camera they will stop dead still as stone to stare and stare at it, by the dozens. Gaping, actually. Like one of those scenes in an old Tarzan flick, with a guy staring at the skull on a stick beside the trail -- "bad juju, boss." Crowds of Chinese would gather, as though waiting for somebody to jump off a building, and they refused to be moved out of the shot. This time Fouad, whom we'd all taken to calling Foo, had this smug gleam in his eye. He was very proud of his new invention to hide the camera in plain sight. It was a big wooden box with a tiny little window for the camera lens. It was hideously hot and stifling inside the box, but you can't see the camera. Bill asked Foo if he got the idea from Alec Guinness's sweat box in Bridge on the River Kwai and Foo didn't understand what he was saying because he never saw the movie. Foo was outraged, positively outraged -- had a conniption fit when locals would stop and stare at the box. They were staring at his hiding place as if it were a camera! And they didn't know it was a camera inside, but it was a box. Alas, this giant wooden crate did look very odd on a busy sidewalk and these folks will stop and stare at anything, the way we slow for a car wreck, when we say that all we want to see is if we can help, as any good citizen should, when really all we want to see is any dead bodies and any blood.
Foo had a much better time shooting in the streets from moving cars and from second story windows and we did a lot of that. On the first trip to Hong Kong he had conventional radio mikes to catch Bill's and my dialogue, but they were bulky and of dubious quality. This time around Foo brought new ones, his own design, built at Stanford over the intervening months. They were so small they could fit in your back pocket like a wallet, and they were the forerunners of the radio mikes that we use today in movies.
Foo's energy was a source of amusement and he took a lot of kidding for it. I have often seen him shoot first camera all day and repair sound equipment all night. And I mean all night. He seemed like a machine. He was inexhaustible, always cheerful, always with a smile, with his favorite phrase, "Is no problem." At the end of the first year Foo had quietly checked himself into a Swiss sanitarium with a physical and nervous breakdown. But the next year he was back, with a slightly larger van, same James Bond design, like a James Bond cigarette lighter with all these tiny little compartments with stuff in 'em.
One bright sunny day we took the ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island and we shot along the way. Sheldon set up the camera with Fouad for a vital sequence in the movie called "A Cup of Kindness." In the sequence, Bill was supposed to yank on the cord of the ferry's air-horn to signal to another ferry boat that's off across the water with a wild chorus of toots and whistles. The Chinese actor playing the ferry boat pilot, who was chosen for his excellent mastery of English, whirled on Bill in astonishment and yelled "You sano raspberries Honka harbors!" And Bill stared at the actor and he started to laugh and Sheldon hollered "Cut!" and he took the actor aside and spoke to him reasonably and sensibly and quietly and he said that the line properly had to be said "You signaled icebergs in Hong Kong harbor." They tried the scene again, and right on cue the guy shouts, "You sano raspberrie in Honka harbors!" And Bill observed, "Hey, Shel, he's making progress. He got the word 'in.' That was clear as a bell." Sheldon was glaring at Bill. So he tried it again and the same thing happened and Sheldon was turning purple. He dismissed us and went in close on the Chinese actor, repeating the line Bill and I are growing deeply to love. He enunciated it more and more loudly. No dice. Bill and I are way over on the other side having total breakdown. Sheldon tried to break the line down into pieces, a word here, a word there. I mean he loved this line. He wanted it to work and get a big laugh. But nothing worked. Bill, it may be said now, was merciless with Sheldon when the opportunity presented itself. He ragged him, he teased him, for coaching the bewildered actor who clearly wanted to jump in the bay, and he got so harsh and Sheldon was so furious that I was genuinely worried that Sheldon would never forgive Bill. And I was totally wrong. Where I come from, one guy rags another that way, the way Bill does Sheldon, and they wind up ready to kill each other, and sometimes do.
This six week location, and the next one in Japan, were trial by fire for all of us, setting up relationships that lasted a whole lifetime pretty much unchanged. Sheldon came to perceive Bill as if he were his own son. For the rest of his life, Bill would feel much the same way about Sheldon. And "You sano raspberries" became Bill's and my new best-loved nonsense tagline, a salutation to fit all occasions, understood but dimly by anybody else even after you tell 'em the story. The truth is you really did have to be there.
Part Three coming soon...