"They only see what I want them to see, what I'm selling -- an image."
About This Interview
In his two-hour Archive interview, Robert Conrad describes his early years as an athlete, singer, and actor in Chicago, before he set out to look for professional acting work in Hollywood. He talks about his early auditions, learning to do his own stunts, and being signed as a contract player by William T. Orr for Warner Brothers Television. He tells of landing a role as a series regular on Hawaiian Eye and describes the premise of the series. He then details the series with which he is most closely associated, The Wild Wild West, on which he played the lead, "James T. West." Conrad recalls performing his own stunts for the show, discusses working with his co-star Ross Martin, and notes the series' cancellation due to political pressure about violence on television. Conrad then speaks of his lead role as Gregory "Pappy" Boyington in the series Baa, Baa Black Sheep (later titled Black Sheep Squadron) and his association with the real-life WWII hero he portrayed. Conrad also recounts his work on the miniseries Centennial, his participation as NBC team captain on Battle of the Network Stars specials, and his Eveready battery commercials, which featured him placing a battery on his shoulder and looking into camera demanding "I dare you to knock this off." He speaks of his career as a battery pitchman, and also talks of directing for television. Gary J. Rutkowski conducted the interview on August 30, 2006 in Thousand Oaks, CA.