I didn't set out to actually interview the Invisible Man.
My plan was to just go to the post office and pick up a load of stuff people can't e-mail. I didn't realize it at first, but there he was, just standing there in front of me in line. The Invisible Man. Who'd have ever thought that he got mail. To be fair, I wouldn't have even known he was there, except for the coughing and hacking, and the distinct smell of a Halls.
I caught his attention and we engaged in a short conversation, during which he agreed to a short interview. We left together and wound up at a place where people couldn't see me asking questions to a wall.:
Following is my short Q-and-A with the Invisible Man.
Q: If you don't mind, we can touch on your public side in a minute. First, I know that people are going to ask me, which do you prefer? The Invisible Man or just Invisible Man?
A: Actually, you know... I never thought about it too much. Either way is fine. But i guess in this acronym-obsessed world, you can just call me TIM, ok?
Q: Ok, thanks. TIM.
So do you have any hobbies? I mean, what does TIM like to do?
A: Well, i wear many hats.
A: Hats, you know? I like to wear hats.
Q: Any other hobbies, TIM?
A: No. Not really. I'm really quite boring.
Q: Do you have any pets. TIM
A: Yes. I have a rabbit.... And you can drop the TIM thing.
Q: I'm guessing he's six feet tall and his name is Harvey. Sorry, I couldn't resist.
A: Well actually, he's just shy of 5 feet, but you know this town. But his name is Harvey. How did you know?
Actually, I was up for that role in the movie. The audition was just stupid. No lines, no action. I walked out in the middle of it. I didn't want it. Do you know who their pick was? No one. The rocket scientists there finally realized that they didn't actually need anyone for the part. They just had Jimmy act like he had a 6-foot talking rabbit. He had to have his eyes look like they were focusing on a six-foot tall rabbit. He had to hang his arm around just right. Take after take after take... It was a shame what they put him through. It would have never worked anyway. They would have blown their stack if they ever found out I worked naked.
Q: Your film, "The Invisible Man" was a phenomenal hit some years back. There were different versions made. Would it be correct to say that it was basically based on your life?
A: For the most part, yes. Hollywood, as you know, has a reputation for closely following the facts of any true story. Like Ben Hur, Spartacus, The Three Stooges and the Star Wars trilogy. NOT!
Q: Care to share some examples?
A: For one, that whole "nude" scene was bogus. It never happened. Hell, I'm always naked. I'm naked right now. So big deal, right? I bet you weren't ready for that...
For another, I never, ever wrapped my face with bandages or whatever. And no sunglasses. Ever. Why would i do that?
FYI, I was in some other films that you might have heard of.
Q: Interesting. Would you share?
A: "Angels in the Outfield", "Flubber" and "House on Haunted Hill" to name a few. I especially liked doing "Flubber". Fred MacMurry and I really hit it off. He was a hoot.
Q: How do you present yourself to others? I mean, If you actually wanted someone, like me, to follow your movements?
A: I wear earrings. Or lipstick. Or pumps. Or any combination.
Q: So if I happened to dump a bucket of paint on you right now, you'd become visible to me. I'd be able to see your form, correct?
A: Probably, I guess. But I wouldn't advise it. You'd only get away with it once. Most people in town, we have an understanding. Would you want a pissed off Invisible Man hunting you down?
Q: So who portrayed you in the most recent version. I don't recall... Would we recognize his name?
A: No. I doubt that. I don't run anyone down, but he seriously is a nobody. I really believe that you won't be seeing much of him going forward. Get it? "Seeing" much of him... Get it?
Q: I get it. Any regrets?
A: I feel bad about kids getting blamed for things I've done back home. You know the deal. Mom shows up and sees the bedroom window busted, which I did, incidentally. She drags the boys into the house and asks them who did it. They tell her they don't know anything about it. So she says, "Oh, I suppose the Invisible Man did it!"
Yeah. I feel kind of bad about that. It's happened more than once. Plenty of times. But I was just the Invisible Kid then.
Q: Were you always invisible?
A: No. It was the horrible result of a highly sensitive military experiment gone terribly awry!
No seriously, I was born this way. It took awhile for my parents to come to grips. At first, Dad was accusing Mom of cheating on him. But it wasn't too long before this one doctor reassured him that there was no reason at all for him to think that. I'm not quite sure why...
Q: Is there anything personal that you'd be willing to share with our audience?
A: Yes. I have some issues, which shouldn't be surprising. Like relationships. There's no hope of a long-term meaningful relationship. Sure, i sneak into random bedrooms from time to time, usually at night. You get my drift. It always winds up with a lot of screaming and not the good kind. It's kind of depressing knowing that you'll always be alone with no one to really share your invisible life with. I take pills for it.
Anyway, my career in Hollywood wasn't all sunshine and roses. I spent some time as a special effects technician for several television shows. I often was tapped to physically move the lips for several animals. You'd be most familiar with the 60's show, "Mister Ed". The horse's real name was Sean. He was one nasty Palamino. When he began biting, he liked it and he wouldn't stop. I bitched about it, and said it was either me or the nag. I quit after the studio caved to Sean's agent. And guess what? The show ended that very season. During a shooting, "Carol" ran screaming from the set for some inexplicable reason. Did you know she never wore underwear? Anyway, she vowed she'd never come back, and that was that.
Oh, I also worked with Francis the Talking Mule. Now he was a pleasure to work with. We got along well. I'll never forget his goofy laugh, y'know. Ironically, he and "Carol" became an item.
After those gigs dried up, things went downhill fast. No one really trusted someone they couldn't see. It's kind of like the federal government. That's a good analogy. No one can see it, so who in the world trusts it? Comparing myself to the US government: now I'm creeping me out.
The studios were all the same. All of them. It was great as long as I was making money for them. I was their freak-buddy. They loved to show me off. Even then, though, I was never ever invited to any of their big fancy schmancy parties or their award dinners or programs. That doesn't say that I never attended any of them, and I'm not saying I did. And I'm certainly not saying that I had a good time, or that I helped others to have fun.
One nice thing. I could live wherever I liked. With a little care, I could spend months...hell, even years, at a single place at a time. I won't name names, obviously, but I enjoyed a year or so at the home of some of the biggest stars in town. How do you think those gossip rags get their big "scoops"? Do you think they just walked out the back door and down to those offices, tapped a "journalist" on the shoulder and handed them to him? Well, that's just ridiculous. Why the back door?
I'm sorry. I'm rambling.
Q: That's ok. It's been an enlightening chat. Is there anything else you'd like to say before we end this interview?
A: I suppose I could continue rambling, but I've said enough. I'm pretty sure that once this piece is released, there'll be a pile of lawsuits just waiting for me. It's just not a big deal. That's what I was doing at the post office earlier. They're always coming after me for one thing or another.
I should go. Thanks for the chance to talk. I've enjoyed our time and your roast beef sandwich. See how this all works? Ok, you don't need to walk me to the door. I'll see myself out. LOL.