His routines are as hilarious today as when his first LP The Button-Down Mind was issued. It actually beat Elvis to No 1 in the US charts. Newhart worked as a copywriter for a film producer and whiled away the time writing imaginary telephone calls. Some he sent to radio stations and also tried out at comedy clubs. Bob made his mark as a solo straight man - the rather nervous half of an imaginary dialogue with an inept learner driver or a life-guard who has found an unexploded bomb ('You think that's unusual do you, finding a shell on the beach?) or the sceptical recipient of yet another Raleigh life-changing discovery etc- but the beauty of Newhart's performance is that one can so easily speculate what the other participant in the dialogue is saying.