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Mr. Bill

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Mrbillvhs

The Mr. Bill VHS collection.

Mr. Bill is series of short films created by Walter Williams that appeared in the earlier few seasons of Saturday Night Live. They are named after the main character, a relentlessly unfortunate clay figurine.

The shorts were shot on the cheap, using 8mm film for the first few seasons. Though the characters were clay they were almost never animated but were portrayed via a series of static vignettes with the only motion being Mr. Hands, a human hand who manipulated things on camera.

The typical Mr. Bill episode involved Mr. Bill and his dog Spot partaking in some mundane task which leads to some confusion and Mr. Bill getting in trouble. Mr. Hands would attempt to "help out" leading to even greater disaster and ending with Mr. Bill or his dog getting their little clay bodies carelessly mutilated.

CharactersEdit

Mr. Bill - The good hearted protagonist/victim made of white clay with a red clay shirt and blue clay pants. Would typically start the show by addressing the audience with "Hi boys and girls." and spend most of the rest of the show screaming "Oh Noooo!" at the mishaps which befell him.

Sluggo - Mr. Bill's silent, green and yellow antagonist would appear in a slightly different guise in every episode (Doctor Sluggo, Judge Sluggo). Sluggo was feared by Mr. Bill who frequently claimed "He's going to be mean to me!", a claim that usually turned out to be true.

Mr. Hands - Since Mr. Bill was largely inanimate Mr. Hands would manipulate the set to "help" him or Sluggo, usually despite Mr. Bill's protests. This would lead to Mr. Bill or his friends being dropped, squashed or otherwise abused. Mr. Hands was usually the only other speaking character and would relay the "words" of the silent Sluggo.

Spot - Mr. Bill's tiny yellow dog. Existed mainly to recieve the initial abuse and destruction so that Mr. Bill could be saved for a more severe destruction or mistreatment.

Ms. Sally - Mr. Bill's nearly identical girlfriend, having different hair and a blue skirt instead of pants. Though Sally occasionally suffered Mr. Bill's misfortunes she was usually an innocent bystander or an object of desire for Mr. Bill so that additional pathos could be wrung out of the situation when he loses her. Sally had a few speaking lines in her appearances and was the only character to have genuine sympathy for Mr. Bill.

Continuing popularityEdit

Mr. Bill has been one of the best remembered characters from the show. In addition to a DVD compilation of all the Mr. Bill shorts a line Mr. Bill figurines and branded merchandise is still avialable for sale.

After Mr. Bill last appeared on SNL Walter Williams continued to make Mr. Bill shorts and Mr. Bill has starred in some recent commercials, including two for Ramada Inns and one from the "For Everything Else, There's Mastercard." series. In the 1980s Mr. Bill also starred in a series of anti-drug public service announcements where he would be doing some activity, only to be often buried under a pile of pills by Sluggo. The public service announcements would end with "Say 'Oh No!' to Drugs".

In 1995 a couple of commercials for Pizza Hut were done called "The Pizza Head Show", also produced by Walter Williams. Identical voices were used and the antagonist being a pizza cutter named Steve and the protagonist being a slice of pizza called Pizza Head.

A large number of unofficial Mr. Bill episodes have been made by fans and imitators and uploaded to Youtube.

The Walter Williams/ Mr. Bill website

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