In order to come up with a decent picture of Max Gail, I found this one that showed both Max and Hal Linden together. I’ll talk more about Hal later on. I ran into Max Gail both around the set and out in the parking lot at the ABC Television Center. Since I never got a chance to watch the show THEN, I had to wait till years later to discover that Max was not very much like his character Detective Stan Wojciehowicz.
One thing in particular comes to mind from the times I spent on the set, and then from watching the shows on TV years later. From what I recall of the story line in the show, Wojo was blamed for making the bad coffee on the show. During a dress rehearsal, I witnessed Jack Soo, not Max Gail making a few additions to the coffee filter. I recognized most of it as something you might want to add to soup, not coffee. After the spit take during the rehearsal, Jack was given the nod to fix the coffee “at his discretion”. Of course, then it was only added to the show when they needed a good spit take gag. I think the only reason they blamed the bad coffee on Wojo is that his character was portrayed as being a bit more aloof than the others, giving the impression that he wasn’t smart enough to make coffee. I found Max to be pleasant on the many times that we ran across each other. If I had to judge, I’d say more friendly than aloof.