TCA 2014: “Norman Lear detested it” says “Good Times” star
Jimmie Walker has no regrets about his catchphrase, but Norman Lear was never a fan.
Walker's famous declaration, “Dyn-o-mite!,” was a highlight of “Good Times” episodes in the 1970s and has been referenced by T-shirts, a Beastie Boys song, and strangers who scream it at Walker wherever he goes. But it almost wasn't to be, he told TheWrap.
“When it came up, John Rich was our director. John Rich loved it,” Walker said. “But our executive producer was Norman Lear. And Norman Lear's one of these guys who really likes to do story and cares about the whole thing, characters. Norman Lear detested it. He hated it. … It literally made him throw up.”
Walker also spoke at a Television Critics Association panel on PBS's “Pioneers of Television” series.
“And I had said to John Rich when he said we're going to do this, I said, ‘John, you cannot just stand in front of people with no storyline and say dyn-o-mite in the middle of a room,” Walker said. “People will never buy it. They're not that stupid.’ And John Rich says, ‘Yes, they are.'”
Walker said the phrase is as associated with him as “Let's get ready to rumble” is with HBO boxing announcer Michael Buffer. But he said he doesn't mind. Since returning to standup comedy, he's incorporated it into his act.
“I never really did it in my act, but now I've incorporated it in a very nice, tasty way in the act and it works great,” he said. “You just can't come on as a character and say, ‘Hi. I was on a show. Thank you. I'll take my money now.’ They want to see you do something.”