Mike Marino – A Chimpanzee and Jerry Mathers as The Beaver!

Radio was also a garden of interviews with the famous, infamous and not so famous or infamous to a crazed chimpanzee that was a last minute Bay Area fill in for a no show Jerry Mathers as the Beaver. Quite honestly the Chimp was more exciting. I have all these taped and in my possession and when I need a reality check and humility fix..I put them on and enjoy the flubs, bloopers and operator error fuck ups.

Jerry Mathers….you all know him as “The Beaver” (insert jokes here) I had just interviewed the actor who played Eddie Munster the week before, and Jon Provost of the old Lassie show so was on a nostalgia TV show binge so decided to track down Jerry Mathers. It wasn’t hard ..he was schlepping condo’s and timeshares which is what most has been TV types end up doing. It’s the graveyard of showbiz that has replaced the numerous guest appearances former A-stars used to do on “The Love Boat” a sort of of Hollywood purgatory until the great “comeback or death” whichever comes first.
I tracked him down and got his agents address and phone number..exchange after exchange I finally got the green light and go ahead…as the week began it was 4 days until showtime. Mathers calls me himself and says he wants $600 for the interview…$600 for a goddamn has been! He wasn’t even that big when he was big! I guess Ward and June didn’t give him a big enough allowance and the royalties must have dried up for syndication. No way was the station nor I going to spring for $600 bucks for beaver…I never paid that much for real beaver in Okinawa!!!
I called Jerry and tried to explain that we didn’t have the money and all guests on my show appeared for free. This ain’t Hollywood I explained. He said that was what he wanted or he wouldn’t do it…I have a bit of a temper as those who know me will attest to, but I kept my cool and just before I slammed the phone down…I yelled into the mouthpiece a line that “Wally Cleaver” used to repeat when he was Beaver perplexed…”$600! Gosh Beav!”
So my radio partner behind my back, as usual..(he kept things lively and me on my toes) booked another guest for that Friday Show to fill in…he didn’t tell me who or in this case..what it was. It was a surprise he said and knowing my abilities to go with the flow and ad-lib I didn’t care as I would always work without a net and that was the rush for me.
Friday morning…just before 8 a.m…the phones were still off the hook with requests and comments as Fridays were Insensitive Politically Incorrect Fridays so the gloves were off..the audience was great and were as insensitive as a Bay Area crowd can get…my partner Kevin did a big lead in with our mystery guest on the air…had the old drum roll ch boom ready and bang..the studio door opens up and in walks a trainer form Marine World in Vallejo with…a fucking chimpanzee!!!
I held the chimp and it laid down on my lap..face up with it’s head at my knees and hit’s feet curled up around the sides of my head covering my ears…I was describing this on the air as best I could, when my female traffic reporter and part time girlfriend  Janelle  was on the hard line and said for all the world to hear…”when the chimp is done..it’s my turn!”
The interview was decidedly one sided and eventually he had to leave the studio and wouldn’t let go of me and started that Cheetah the Chimp wet kissing as only a chimpanzee can do. 
His trainer took him away and it was kind of sad…when you spend a half hour with someone’s head in your lap fondling your head with their feet …you kind of get attached…but when it’s something fondling your head..it’s not the same…but…I did go out with the traffic reporter who offered to simulate the simian…and you know….with her head in my lap…it was showtime!


Mike Marino has made his “roadhead” bones and enjoy’s nothing better than a greasy, unfolded map on the seat of the car…a bag of beef jerky and smoked fish and a cream soda to wash it all down as the highway and the steel belts play a meloldy of asphalt. Originally a product of the Motor City, Mike has lived in on the streets and on the beach in Hawaii, as well as in Haight Ashbury and the North Beach neighborhoods in San Francisco. Mike is also founder of the Experimental Theater Workshop, The Spare Change Artists Project, adn the Dung Zen Sustainable Living Project. He is primarily though a freelance magazine writer of pop culture, car culture, travel and history for numerous publications and he enjoys Hawaiian shirts, classic cars, Ed Wood Movies, fuzzy dice and hula dashboard ornaments as well as a good Hemmingway cigar, Corona beer, hiking and backpacking and rummaging through flea markets and auto junkyards.

One Response to “Mike Marino – A Chimpanzee and Jerry Mathers as The Beaver!”

  1. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Mike, another excellent column! Well done, I’m still chuckling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: