Author’s Note: The past two weeks have obviously been a whirlwind for me. Since my interview with Mike Huckabee was posted, The Huck has turned into a juggernaut in the polls- his ratings soaring, his popularity increasing with every hit on johnnygoodtimes.com.
Sure, it was revealed that in 1992, The Huck thought that AIDS patients should be isolated from society… In 1992 I thought that Right Said Fred was going to be the next big thing… we all make mistakes! Irregardless, my article was just the springboard that the Huckabee camp needed.
I would like to say that my piece on Dennis Kucinich had the same effect. However, no one has seen D-Train since he left a Los Angeles nightclub early one morning last week with Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan.
That being said, I was quite disheartened to find that, after a number of attempts, I was unsuccessful in landing an interview with Republican candidate Fred Thompson. His staff declined to arrange an interview, and Fred’s hot wife, Jeri, is quite snippy when you follow her home from her Pilates class.
Needless to say, I was unable to speak with Mr. Thompson. However, not wanting to disappoint my readers, I figured that I would get the next best thing. Knowing that Fred Thompson is, first, an actor, I decided to interview an actor that reminds me of Mr. Thompson, to perhaps get in his head. I found this to be equally challenging. The following actors were either unavailable or unwilling to grant me an interview:
Craig T. Nelson
When all hope seemed lost for this week’s column, a miracle occurred. I came across a man who, in this reporter’s opinion, is a carbon copy of Fred Thompson in mind, body and soul.
That man is Conrad Bain, TV’s Mr. Drummond.
Pulling up to Mr. Bain’s mountain home, 20 miles east of Vancouver, is like going back in time. Nestled in the vast wilderness, Mr. Bain lives there with his wife, Monica, a Latvian exchange student whom they refer to as “Number 6”, and a plump tabby cat named “The Gooch”.
As we sat down to the kitchen table, Mr. Bain offered me some breakfast. “You MUST try my wife’s crepes. They are the best in Canada,” he boasted. When I declined, he continued, “Well, I hope you don’t mind if I help myself. Honey, can I have a couple of your delicious crepes?” Monica dropped a bowl in front of him, dumped out some Rice Chex, splashed on some syrup, lit a cigarette, and disappeared into the bedroom for the remainder of my visit.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like to try some of my crepes? They truly are out of this world,” he claimed, as he gulped down his Rice Chex.
At this point, we were ready to talk business.
- CHIP CHANTRY- First, let me say what a fan I am of your work. Diff’rent Strokes was my favorite TV show as a boy.
- CONRAD BAIN- It was a great pleasure to make the show. In college, my drama professor always told us, “When it comes to acting, never work with children or colored people”. I sure proved him wrong.
- CC- Do you have any experience in politics?
- CB- In 1988, I ran for postmaster general of Coquitlam. My campaign slogan was “Let Conrad Be the Bain of Your Existence.” I lost in a landslide. It’s all for the best. I don’t know a single thing about mail delivery.
- CC- Nancy Reagan appeared on Diff’rent Strokes in 1983 to promote her “Just Say No” message. What was it like working with the first lady?
- CB- Who? I’m sorry, I don’t recall that episode. But I remember the one when Arnold tried to impress Ed “Too Tall” Jones with his new magic trick. YOU SHOULD SEE THE SIZE OF ED’S HANDS!
- CC- So, you were not aware that Nancy Reagan was the wife of the President of the United States?
- CB (Yelling down the hallway) -Number Six! Did I ever tell you about Ed “Too Tall” Jones’s hands?? (A door slams.)
- CC- Let’s get back to politics. Who would you like to see Fred Thompson choose as a running mate, assuming he wins the Republican nomination?
- CB- Willis could use the work. He could have been in the Brat Pack if it wasn’t for that damn crack problem. We should have had someone come on to the show and tell American children about the ills of illegal drugs.
- CC- You did. Nancy Reagan talked about that.
- CB- Oh, right, right. Those were fun times. Remember the episode when Arnold and Dudley were molested in the back of the bike shop? After that episode, whenever the boys would be acting ornery, I would put on my Gordon Jump mask and say, “All right boys, do you want to go back to the bike shop?” Then we would laaaaugh. Though Dudley didn’t find it as funny sometimes. He was a sensitive young man. He cried a lot between takes.
- CC- Super. Now being Canadian, let me ask you about immigration reform in the United States.
- CB- Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis? (Laughs loudy.) Oh, those were fun times. The drugs got the best of the children though. Kimberly died a few years ago, you know. I wish we had someone come on the show and tell the American children about the ills of illegal drugs.
- CC- Yes… that would have been wonderful. Now, how would you compare Canadian politics to that of the States?
- CB- (Becoming agitated) Look, young man. What is with all of the political questions? Aren’t you here from TV Guide?
- CC- No. I am doing a story on presidential candidate Fred Thompson.
- CB- Who is that? AND WHO ARE YOU??? (He brandishes a fork.)
- CC- (Jumping out of my seat) Look, I just want to do a story about Fred Thompson’s campaign.
- CB- (Calming down) You mean Fred Thompson, the actor?
- CC- Yes!
- CB- Why didn’t you say something? Fred and I are great friends. Here, why don’t you just call him? Tell him Conrad said he should talk to you. Here’s his cell phone number.
He writes a phone number on a small piece of paper and hands it to me.This is the break I needed. After all of this time, I cannot believe I have Fred Thompson’s private number. I politely excuse myself, thanked Mr. Bain for his time, and left for the airport.
As my plane touched down at Philadelphia International Airport, I grabbed my dufflebag, took a cab back to my apartment, and called the number as soon as I stepped foot in the door.
I expected to get a voicemail. I did. My heart dropped as the outgoing message said, “You’ve reached Gary Coleman. Leave a message to to tell me whatchoo talkin’ ’bout!”
Conrad Bain is an a******.
RELATED: Chip interviews Dennis Kucinich.
RELATED: Chip interviews Mike Huckabee.