Friday, October 19, 2007

The first scene that launched our career

Anytime I post something about MASH I get a lot of positive feedback. A few months ago I talked about our first MASH episode, how we got it, what it was about. Here's that post. You can imagine the unbelievable thrill of seeing our names for the first time on a MASH episode.

Here's the first scene from that episode -- "Out of Sight/Out of Mind".

I went out and bought a VCR unit so I could tape the show. It weighed almost a hundred pounds, cost $1700 and was 3/4". The salesman was showing me all the features. It had slow motion and even freeze frame. I asked why would anyone want those features? The salesman said, "Schmuck, for porn! Why do you want it?" Suddenly I felt sheepish saying so that I could freeze my credit and instead just said, "Yeah, porn. That's why I want it too."

You're welcome to freeze frame my credit... but only in the privacy of your own home.

18 comments :

RAC said...

I feel dirty now.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

God, that's so sexy, Ken! Why didn't you say anything before about on-screen credits being hotter than porn? ;)

DrBear said...

Damn. Now I can't watch the clip until my wife leaves for work.

DodgerGirl said...

That was satisfying.

Diogo said...

Still about MASH Ken, and I'd apreciated if you could answer this. Yesterday, when I was searching my DVDs for that "bottle of wine" episode, it happened to be the season where Garry Burgoff (sp) Guest starred a few times, before leaving for good. And I couldn't help noticing that on his 3 last appearences, he comes across on screen as really unsympathetic (sp). like really he would prefer to be anywhere else but there. since you wrote his last episodes, I'd ask you if that is an accurate perception. Also, I noticed he sort of changed his appearence midway through filming. in his last scenes he has black curly hair, which does not match the rest of the series. any light you can shed on this would be much apreciated.

Max Clarke said...

Cool, your first time, and you had the slow-motion feature to make it last.

What makes this better is that readers know the back story. I recall Ken's writing about their pitch to the guy, and they had 50 ideas. Also, Ken wrote about the tiny speech Hawkeye gives about the way his hearing improved being blind, his consciousness. Well done.

Ken Levine said...

I talk about the Goodbye Radar episode in this post:

http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2006/10/goodbye-radar.html

Diogo said...

Thanks Ken. Wow, turns out I was right. I had not read that post before, but you wrote that he decided to play it kind of angry. I didn't notice the lack of his hat that much, but now that I think about it, part 2 of the episode starts squarely with a shot of Radar's balding head, while he collected the things from his desk drawer. It's a schame that he didn't make more of an effort on his last appearence. I guess the sweet kid really was gone.
a follow up question I had is, I noticed that Burghoff did 2 appearences on AfterMASH. did you work with him on those? and, by than, was he back at being the radar we know, or was it just 2 dreaded appearences brought on by a big dollar figure? Still, he must have learned from his mistakes, because soon after those they tried to launch a pilot called W*A*L*T*E*R, with him reprising his character. That must be a weird experience, to watch that pilot, where I think he plays Radar as a cop? at least the rare photo I saw of it had Burghoff in a uniform of some sort. I just don't get why actors would leave successfull shows. Do they really think they are gonna become the next big thing on their one. "Previously radar from MASH, now Dale Bracket, PI?"

Dave Lifton said...

When you wrote back then that the one speech was key to the success of the episode, I knew exactly which one you were talking about, Hawkeye's monologue about what he has learned from the experience. And that's without having seen the episode in years. A brilliant piece of writing.

But my favorite line of that episode is, "Swing and a miss!" (BJ hits the bats together) "He just got a piece of it!"

estiv said...

Watching your name appear on screen for the first time must have been a sweet moment. And memorable, since you're discussing it now. Ah wait, I just figured it out: it's not really porn we're talking about here, but actual personal sexual experience--you never forget that first time.

Beth said...

Darn! I don't smoke.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Gary Burgoff is a noted wildlife artist. He may have decided to quit the show because it was holding him back from being taken seriously as an artist. I'm just guessing, but it fits.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Or is that "Burghoff"?

emily litella said...

..there went my virginity...

The Crutnacker said...

I only got as far as Jay Folb. I'm so embarassed.

NYLouOC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NYLouOC said...

For all those wondering about Burghoff's personality,there was a period on MATCH GAME, when Charles Nelson Reilly (RIP) was in NY, directing THE BELLE OF AMHERST for Broadway. For some odd reason, the producers had Gary Burghoff, of all people, as his 'permanent stand-in'. This was for like six months! Anyways, over that time, flashes of his 'real' personality come out - especially on the shows that were taped after the 'lunch break' of that particular week's taping.***Point of information***: a week of MG was taped in one day, with an apparently very liquid lunch break after taping the 'Tuesday' show. (Gene Rayburn did not live in California, he would fly in from NY on Monday, tape two weeks worth of shows in two days, and fly back home immediately after.) Burghoff seemed to be very sullen quite a bit after 'Tuesday'!

Another piece of evidence is the various MASH blooper/gag reels floating around out there - Burghoff seems to be quite persnickety in more than a couple of the clips..although hearing 'Radar' go 'SHIT!' out loud is quite hilarious!

Scott said...

Ken,

Not sure if you covered this one yet...
Did Metcalfe or Alda change / edit the script for you or did any of the actors change a line (or the meaning of a line)?