Bob Newhart recalls how he knew Elf would be an enduring holiday hit

Bob Newhart recalls how he knew Elf would be an enduring holiday hit: ‘This is going to be like Miracle on 34th Street’

Bob Newhart says he predicted Elf would be a Hollywood Christmas classic upon reading the screenplay.

The comedy icon, 91, who played Papa Elf in the 2003 holiday film, was asked by The Hollywood Reporter if kids often mention the movie to him.

‘It’s been phenomenal,’ Newhart said. ‘When they sent me the script [for Elf], I said to my wife, “Honey, this is going to be a perennial. This is going to be like Miracle on 34th Street.” And that is exactly what happened.’

The latest: Bob Newhart, 91, says he predicted Elf would be a Hollywood Christmas classic upon reading the screenplay for the 2003 film. The showbiz icon was snapped in LA last year 

Newhart added, ‘That is a wonderful thing, to be part of kids’ enjoyment of the Christmas season.’

The film, which arrived in theaters in November of 2003, cast Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human raised as an elf who goes on a mission to find his biological father in New York City.

It included an ensemble cast of James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Ed Asner, Zooey Deschanel, Peter Dinklage and Artie Lange, and made more than $220 million internationally.

In his chat with the publication, Newhart chat about his Emmy-winning turn on The Big Bang Theory as playing Arthur Jeffries/Professor Proton, as he said his relationship with creator Chuck Lorre spanned back decades.

Classic: The comedy icon played Papa Elf in the 2003 holiday film 

Newhart said, ‘That is a wonderful thing, to be part of kids’ enjoyment of the Christmas season’

‘It’s funny how that came about. Chuck Lorre and I knew each other because we were on the same lot,’ Newhart said. ‘I was doing Newhart and he was doing Roseanne or Cybill. We wanted to work together, but we just had not found the right project.

‘And he finally came to me and said, “I’ve come to you for your annual turndown of my show.” And I said, “No, I really like Big Bang. I like the writing on it. I love the cast and I still have my [comedy] fastball. It is more like 42 mph now. I still know how to do that.” And I missed it.’

Newhart said Lorre told him ‘he would write a script to see what I thought, and that was the start of it.’

He added: ‘The only request I made was that [my portion] had to be done in front of the live audience because with my shows and background in stand-up, I was used to a live audience.’

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