In my early twenties one of my first jobs in television was an assistant casting director for Bill Cosby’s Show “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” LMNO productions were filming episodes of the show in NYC and they needed some extra hands to help cast. The show was a very funny modern day candid camera hosted by Cosby. He would ask children normal every day questions in hopes they would do as children do and say something funny on camera, then BINGO the show’s magic happens.
One of my jobs was to go out into the boroughs of New York City and find some funny kids! We called schools, childcare centers and did open call castings to find children that fit the bill. We did our jobs and found some amazing kids!
After months of casting I was brought on set as a talent coordinator and production assistant to film with Mr. Cosby. Our first day of filming was at the Natural History Museum. The museum had closed off the Dinosaur wing for our shoot.
My producer prepped me before the shoot, “When filming with Dr. Cosby, never EVER make eye contact with him.” she said, “And his name is NOT Bill or Mr. Cosby, his name is DR. Cosby.” Then she threw this one in there. “You are never to talk to him but if you do… you are to call him Dr. Cosby Got it?” Apparently he not only played a doctor on TV but he also received a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and he took that degree very seriously.
On set Dr. Cosby was quiet and didn’t speak much, he was focused and getting into the zone. After a few hours of taping at the museum I was ordered to run out and get him lunch. I was told to get a large Italian sub and a bottle of coca cola.
My producer said, “It must be a GLASS bottle of coca cola, not plastic, glass, got it?”
“What? What is this 1952? Where was I going to find a glass bottle of coca cola?” I thought.
“Find it.” they said. “It must be GLASS.”
These are the dumb things production assistants can be put in charge of. But I knew if I didn’t do my job I would be fired. I combed through every bodega on the upper west side looking high and low for a GLASS bottle of coca cola. After an hour of searching I found one!
After lunch we walked Dr. Cosby across central park west from the Natural History museum over to Central Park. He waved at strangers on the street and even made funny faces at a bus driver stopped at the light. People lit up, the bus driver laughed and shook his hand. Once inside the park we filmed a few segments with Dr. Cosby and some children. I was pulled aside by the assistant director and asked if I would be on camera. They wanted me to walk past Dr. Cosby and one of the kids sitting on the park bench. As I walked by they filmed Dr. Cosby and the kid’s reactions like, “Now, there’s a nice lady.” etc. Not really a cat calling scene but just reactions to people walking by.
When I first saw Dr. Cosby on set I was starstruck! I thought his comedy is hysterical and I grew up watching every episode of the Cosby Show. I also had empathy and compassion for him since he had just lost his son Ennis in a tragic shooting the year before.
In the last month three different women including supermodel Janice Dickenson have issued allegations that Bill Cosby allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted them. I applaud the courage of these women to come out and tell their truth. Rape is every woman’s nightmare. However on a side note it makes me think of the short time I spent with him, I was in my twenties, my hot years. Guess he didn’t dig my Rachel haircut because I didn’t even get so much as a wink. I was just asked to fetch him his lunch! Either way, hopefully justice will be served.
In the few encounters I had with Dr. Cosby he completely IGNORED me. Guess, I’m wasn’t his type – Thank God!