lead character

José Jiménez (character)

José Jiménez was a fictional character created and performed by comedian Bill Dana on The Steve Allen Show in 1959 and who became increasingly popular during the 1960s. This character introduced himself with the memorable line: "My name...José Jiménez".

During the course of his José Jiménez acts, Bill Dana (who is of Hungarian-Jewish ancestry unlike the Hispanic character he played) took his character through various roles including elevator operator, sailor, and submariner until settling into the most famous occupation that José would hold: astronaut.

Perhaps surprisingly, the character of José Jiménez caught on amongst the seven Mercury astronauts and Dana became good friends with the astronauts. "Okay, José, you're on your way!" Deke Slayton quipped as Alan Shepard's famous first flight launched, in reference to the astronaut parody.

For his role as José the Astronaut, Dana was officially made an honorary Mercury astronaut.

As time passed, Dana realized that such ethnic humor by a person not of that ethnic group was becoming offensive. Hispanic groups began protesting Dana's portrayal of the dim-witted Hispanic character. In 1970, Dana announced to ten thousand Mexican Americans attending a cultural pride festival that "after tonight, José Jiménez is dead". In 1997 Dana received an image award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

José Jiménez in popular culture

In the film The Right Stuff, Alan Shepard (played by Scott Glenn) uses the catchphrase in radio talk while piloting his airplane in for a carrier landing. Later he is warned by a medical aide that the way he uses it is offending people, and he stops.

In the 1990 TV-movie Jury Duty, Bronson Pinchot plays a TV reporter named Jorge Jiménez who is obviously a mixture of José Jiménez and Geraldo Rivera.

In a 1992 episode of Seinfeld, entitled 'The Boyfriend (part 1)', character George Costanza (played by Jason Alexander) effects a José Jiménez accent whilst speaking to an unemployment officer.

In his demo of the song "Wonderful Toys" written for the aborted Batman musical, Jim Steinman does a parody of Eminem, which includes the lines "My name is... my name is... my names is... José Jiménez!". The song is meant to be sung by Joker.

In the Farscape season 4 episode, "Unrealized Reality," the lead character, John Crichton (who commonly quotes pop culture throughout his misadventures), experiences another possible reality of a scene from the first episode of the series. When asked his name, instead of saying John Crichton he replies, "My name José Jiménez."

In the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000, the puppet character of Crow uses the phrase "My name José Jiménez."


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