Johnny the Shoeshine Guy

Just saw an obit for actor William Duell.  He was one of those guys who’d turn up in a movie or a TV show, have a great scene or two, then disappear.

He was Johnny the Shoeshine Guy in “Police Squad!”, a 1982 ABC sitcom that was canceled after six episodes because, as critics pointed out, viewers actually had to pay attention.

It was a great bit.  Enjoy.


About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
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10 Responses to Johnny the Shoeshine Guy

  1. Li'l Em-Kel says:

    It was a hilarious show and Duell was one of the high points. Thanks for the look.

    Duell is snappin’ rags for the angels now. RIP.

  2. Wendy says:

    Thanks! What a great bit that was!

  3. Rick B says:

    This story brings to mind a place I used to work in the early 1970’s it was a tobacco and sundry distributor in Bridgeport CT, I drove a delivery truck for them. We used to have a gentlemen who worked for Phillip Morris by the name of Johnny Roventini . He was the diminutive bellhop of the 1930’s radio shows whose trademark was the calling out of “Call for Phillip Morris!” Great guy and he had hundreds of stories about working on radio in the 30’s with Paulette Goddard, Jack Benny, and latter on in TV with Red Skelton and Jackie Gleason the guy knew everybody and every time we would see him he would start with did I ever tell you the story about Jack Dempsey or someone else he knew. It was a real treat to know someone like that and who could share such great stories!

  4. Rick B

    A book could be made from your comment, which is priceless. Thanks. Wonderful stuff

    • Rick B says:

      Or a play where the characters come to life as Johnny tells the stories. I’ll leave the details up to your imagination and skills Mr.McCarthy!

  5. Jackson says:

    I don’t know if the jokes were following on from what someone else had done but this was the first time I’d seen the ‘shoeshine who knows the street’ trope used to such brilliant effect. I always thought it was such a brilliant device and one begging for parody. And as you say, William Duell applied a deftness which left me in stitches. Clearly a very underrated show which surprisingly many Americans haven’t heard of. I truly hope the following isn’t true; ”a 1982 ABC sitcom that was canceled after six episodes because, as critics pointed out, viewers actually had to pay attention.”

  6. Sine Nomine says:

    Thanks for posting this. It’s very hard to find out much about him, so I appreciate you putting this rather obscure bit of information up. Now I’ve got a name to go by. He did a really great job as “Johnny the Shoeshine Guy” and it’s one of my favorite bits of comedy.

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