Saturday, October 25, 2014

Retro Saturday: My Name ... Jose Jimenez

Click the arrow to listen to the Bill Dana comedy sketch on YouTube. Warning: the content is considered offensive by modern standards. Video source: dvidgreen's YouTube channel.

He was as much an icon of the Space Age as the Mercury astronauts, but today Bill Dana's Mexican astronaut Jose Jimenez comedy sketch is considered a racial parody and politically incorrect.

According to the official Bill Dana web site, the Jose Jimenez character began on The Steve Allen Show in the late 1950s. The biography states:

Adopted by the original seven Mercury astronauts, Dana became part of U.S space history on May 5, 1961 when the first words from planet Earth spoken to Alan Shepard (America's first man in space) were "O.K. José, you're on your way!" Bill and José are honored by their inclusion in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the Astronaut Hall of Fame. He also serves on the board of the Astronaut Scholarship Fund. Bill's appearances at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, and the London Paladium were highlights on the way to an honored and show-stopping appearance at the John F. Kennedy Inaugural Gala in 1961.

The routine was famously repeated on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Bill Dana as The Astronaut in 1963. Image source: Wikipedia.

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