How does it feel to be the world’s only Gumfighter?
“It’s great!” says Don Collier, the 51-year old actor-turned-TV cowboy who has shown America how to blow great big fat juicy bubbles that won’t stick to your face.
“But I have to admit, I thought I’d never do anything quite like this.”
“I found out about the part when an ad agency in Oklahoma called my agent, Bob Colvin, in Hollywood. Bob was excited and told me to jump on it, but I kind of hemmed and hawed for a while. After all, who ever heard of a Gumfighter?”
The native Californian prefers acting in roles with a Western theme. He began appearing in Western movies in 1948 and has worked closely with such great Western stars as John Wayne and Anthony Quinn. He starred in the early 1960s television series “The Outlaws,” and played the ranch foreman in The High Chaparral television series from 1967 to 1970. After the last series he began acting in television commercials.
“I found, much to my surprise, that I really enjoyed doing commercials,” Don recalls. “I don’t have to memorize as many lines. For instance, in most of the Hubba Bubba commercials, all I have to say is, ‘Big Bubbles, no troubles!’ Now, I can handle that without any problem!”
After Don’s initial interview for the part of The Gumfighter, he was given a sack full of Hubba Bubba and told to “go home and practice blowing bubbles.” Although he claims he’s not really an avid bubble gum chewer, he did his homework and developed an expertise to rival that of a lifelong addict.
“Yea, I’m pretty good,” he drawls. “But I’ll tell you, it’s rough to blow a decent bubble when you have eight people looking at you and telling you, ‘Okay, blow one now!’ “
On Saturday mornings, Don follows the pattern of millions of children across the country and gets up early to watch cartoons.
I watch the bugs Bunny and Road Runner programs so I can see my commercials,” he says. “I sit there and analyze every move I make. I often find myself wishing I would have done one or two things a little differently!”
At first Don’s family and friends used to tease him about “growing up to be a Gumfighter,” but he says they have finally realized that it’s no joke.
“People recognize me on the streets now.” He says. “They say, ‘Hey, you’re The Gumfighter! Blow me a bubble!’“
And if his holster is loaded with Hubba Bubba, he obliges.