Bobby looked up to and idolized singer/actor Donald
O'Connor all of his life. They worked together in television and co-starred in the film That Funny
Feeling. It wasn't a surprise that O' Connor was a guest on Bobby's TV show two times. Their friendship spanned many years,
as Bobby explained below:
"Years and years ago, Donald was doing the Colgate Comedy Hour. I lived in
New York at the time and I wanted to be in show business MORE than anything in the whole world ... and I only had one idol
all my life ... truth as I stand here, the only idol I ever had, was this gentleman standing to my right, right now.
And so I went to the, I think it was on 68th street, around 68th, 69th street ... off Broadway ... the NBC theater there and they
were doing the Colgate Comedy Hour and Donny was the host that particular week ... and just coincidentally, I was wearing the
same kind of jacket, a blue jacket if you will, and gray slacks or a gray jacket or blue slacks (as Donald was) ... I only had
two outfits ... I stood out backstage waiting for Donald O'Connor to come out ... and I was standing there, evidently there had
been a dinner break and I didn't know anything about it ... and I was just standing there and a couple of fellas, a couple of stage
hands came walkin' by, and as they walked by, they said, "Oh, hi Don," and they walked down the steps and I said ... (whispering)
"OH WOW ... they think I'm Donald O' Connor!!" ... cause I favored him a little bit, features you know ... and I was excited as
could be and then I waited around, the dinner break was over, Donny came back and I shook his hand, I got his ... I think it was
the only autograph I've ever gotten in my entire life ... so it is a delight and a pleasure for me to have him on
Audio File of above
John Goldsmith at WGEL Radio FM 101.7 Greenville, IL interviewed Donald O'Connor on
December 4, 1992. O'Connor was quoted as saying:
"Bobby was a great guy. He talked me into making a movie in 1965, That Funny Feeling. I didn't want to
make movies anymore after 1960, and he said 'Why don't you come on and do this, we'll have some fun'. So, I did the movie because of
him. We got along great, and its a cute movie and we got to know each other much better.
He was really a great guy, he loved to
have fun. Sometimes he got a little over-tense, because he wanted to be perfect, in everything that he did and in his
singing ... and he was sure good. As I said, he was a nice man."
When in New York City or Los Angeles, be sure to visit The Paley Center for Media to
watch Bobby and Donald O'Connor perform together.