Aside from the numerous times I met Hal Linden on the Prospect Lot of ABC Television Center, I also met him at LAX. I have added a picture of him from when I met him then. It’s a picture that I took myself. The larger of the pictures was taken one night when he came in on the evening flight that got in from New York City.
Anyway…one of my favorite Hal Linden stories, who of course, portrayed Barney Miller on the series of the same name, ties into what I mentioned earlier about Max Gail and Jack Soo. I’m pretty sure they taped many of the rehearsals, and I’m sure that’s where they got Hal’s best spit takes on the coffee. However, a unique note about the set. Right behind the part of the set where the stationhouse coffee was located, there was a caterer’s table. Fresh coffee, donughts, etc. It was off stage, but I can tell you, that’s where Hal started getting his coffee once Jack started playing tricks on him.
All of the times I met him, Hal was nice, even though a lot of the time his exterior demeanor seemed annoyed or even upset like he does in the pictures above. Perhaps a better way to describe it is “preoccupied”. But, to know him, he was actually quite pleasant. And, back then at least, I was surprised he remembered my name when I was on and around the set of Barney Miller. But it was nice that he remembered it. When I took the picture at LAX, the only real reason he let me take the photo was because he remembered me from being on the set. But now, I really doubt he’d remember me.