Carl Reiner is one of the great Renaissance men of show biz — an actor, comedian, director, producer, author, screenwriter and playwright — but, until now, he's never been a singing-dancing ghost pirate! The nine-time Emmy-winning legend will lend his voice to Disney Channel's animated hit Jake and the Never Land Pirates (Friday, Oct. 3 8:30am/7:30c), where he'll play lovelorn Captain Treasure Tooth who is reunited — thanks to Jake and his pals — with his long-lost ghost girlfriend, Peg-Leg Peg (Seinfeld vet Estelle Harris). Check out this exclusive TV Guide Magazine clip from the episode, followed by our chat with the ever-busy Reiner, now in the seventh decade of his career.
TV Guide Magazine: No one should be surprised that you're singing on Disney Channel. Isn't this how your career started?
Reiner: My first big hit was the Broadway musical Call Me Mister. I sang and danced...well, we called it "dancing" but, let's be honest, it was more like jumping. Some big dance society even honored me, but it was really because I jumped higher than anyone else. But I didn't turn down the award! Whenever I did The Tonight Show, I'd enter doing this wild, crazy dance. So, somehow, I'm considered a dancer. But I can't tap dance or anything like that. If I tried, I'd just fall over.
TV Guide Magazine: You're also no stranger to animation voiceovers.
Reiner: I love cartoons! I was doing voices for them way back in the '50s and '60. I think this Jake and the Never Land Pirates is a lovely, delightful show and when they asked me to play a guy called Treasure Tooth who is in love with a peg-legged woman, well, that's all I needed to hear! The Disney folks are marvelous. Working there is very easy and pleasant and at my age — which is 92 — you want easy and pleasant. You're in a cool, comfortable room with people who want you there and you don't have to shave. What's not to love? Although sometimes it's even easier than that. Several years ago they made a cartoon version of The 2000 Year Old Man and they just used the old record album I did with Mel Brooks. [Laughs] We didn't even have to show up for that one!
TV Guide Magazine: What's this we're hearing about a children's book?
Reiner: It should be out for Christmas! It's a book I wrote for young adults called The Secret Treasure of Taka Pahka, a really funny, exciting story about kids who find a very surprising treasure in a 200-year-old cave. The illustrations are thrilling. The kids are drawn to look like my own kids, Robbie Reiner and Annie Reiner, when they were young and there are characters that look like me and my wife, Estelle. It's aimed at 12- and 13-year-olds but the younger ones will love it, too. It would make a great movie — part animated, part live-action. I never stop thinking.
TV Guide Magazine: Or writing. Your memoir, I Just Remembered, recently came out, and it's one of several you've published over the years. Are you just a bottomless pit of anecdotes?
Reiner: Just when I think there's nothing more to remember, I'll go out for a walk and, suddenly, great things that happened to me 50 or 60 or 70 years ago just pop into my head! So this is a whole series of autobiographies. I came out with I Remember Me in 2012, now we have I Just Remembered, and I'm already 100 pages into my next one, I Had Almost Forgotten, which will hopefully be out next year. I figure, as long as my brain's still working, why not? I've had a ball writing these books and I highly recommend them. I know everybody's so busy these days, but the stories are very funny and very short. [Laughs] Wonderful toilet reading!