Sunday, July 06, 2008

BIG WAVE DAVE'S

In 1993 my partner David and I did a pilot for CBS called BIG WAVE DAVE'S. It got on the air in the summer of that year after testing higher than any other project they had. Why wasn't it on in the Fall? Because CBS had series commitments to Diane English and Linda Bloodworth, and starring vehicles for Peter Scolari and Faye Dunaway. There was no room.

During the week of production for BIG WAVE DAVE'S CBS wanted us to replace Jane Kaczmarek. We refused. We believed in her and did not want to do the show without her. She wound up testing through the roof. To CBS's credit, they thanked us for sticking to our guns.

Anyway, here for the first time since it originally aired in August of 1993 is the BIG WAVE DAVE'S pilot -- starring Adam Arkin, Jane, David Morse, Patrick Breen, and Kurtwood Smith as Jack Lord.

P.S. The show did get on the air. It aired for six weeks, averaged a 19 share and kept 100% of our MURPHY BROWN lead in audience. And STILL we were cancelled.





31 comments:

Anonymous said...

is that the guy from ugly betty who plays "gay assistant in his early 20s", playing "gay guy in bar finding excuses not to make a move on some girl" 15 years ago? woah, I guess gay guys really know their skin care.

Dirk said...

I remember doing some of the business affairs at Paramount for that pilot. Those were the days of Pike, Symes, Hayes, etc -- or was McCluggage there already? I was happy to make another deal with with Kurtwood -- for That 70s Show at Carsey-Werner (many years later)

A. Buck Short said...

"The characters in this TV pilot are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental” my ass. We're all suing for theft of attitude. Joe Btfsplk meets The Cooler meets Felix Unger. You pretty much got us down. And what an amazing stretch for a couple of Jewish guys. Where would they ever experience that kind of worldview?

Normally I’m as free with compliments as Marshall would be with hope and gratitude. But these are the kinds of scenes Neil Simon only wishes he could write. The dialogue. Just built and built And I can see what guys like you must have seen your first time in Hawaii, while everybody else was looking at…well…just Hawaii.

I have never thought of David Morse doing this kind of comedy. Maybe he’d done it on stage, but I can’t recall much other film or TV. I will always think of him as the sensitive doc on St. Elsewhere, and how Hack captured that wonderful Spenser for Hire feel – but in Philadelphia. He was great in this. How did that casting decision come about? And was it professional writing restraint or budget that kept him from putting that board through the glass door after successfully shutting it on the way out? His character also had the writer’s life pretty much down too
The lying-life simile, until we almost believe it ourselves.

Was the stair stepper vs. the old treadmill slippage-out-of-the-frame schtick the same kind of thing? What were the reasons given for not picking it up? Did the network believe they actually have to SHOOT it in Hawaii? Or was it the certainty that one or more cast member would eat his gun after more than three years of the over-the-top Chicago accents?

BTW, thanks as usual, I’m up at 3:30 am. Texas time because I’m behind on a 9:00 am. deadline. You just got me wonderfully distracted/tired again that I’m just going back to sleep. Too tired to read this through for typos. Hate when that happens.

Anonymous said...

I think with the exception of Magnum PI, Hawaii isn't a real seller as a location for series. It's a place successful sitcoms go to for vacations, not to live.

Having said that, I am amazed Arkin has a respectable career on tv. I just don't see much difference in his delivery at all. It's all one tone.

And as for Jane, she did such an incredible job as Malcolm's Mother, wonderfully energetic but keeping it from going over-the-top, and revealing different shades of color in her character, it's hard to see her acting "contained" to Arkin's so-called energy level. The other actors basically outdo Arkin, let's just say it. Dick van Dyke he wasn't.

Rinaldo said...

"We're sorry, this video is no longer available" is what the third one says. The first two play fine.

Frank said...

Pardon the impudence Mr. Levine, but when you post a show like that aren't you bootlegging your own show?
I mean, by posting it outside the "normal channels" don't you (not in the personal "you" sense, but the generic sense) avoid paying any royalties to anyone?
I'm truly wondering how this is different from somebody posting an original episode of WKRP in Cincinnati on youtube (as opposed to the freshly edited WKRP now on DVD).
This is meant as a serious question. I am not a troll.
And if I offend, apologies in advance.
(I own a computer repair biz, and the percentage of good, righteous, god-fearin' folk with bootlegged music and movies is stageering. "How can it be illegal? I just downloaded them off the net.")

Michelle said...

The first video is fantastic! But the other two are now unavailable.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, this is great. I see what he's saying about Arkin. The jump from 'Hey! Let's move!' to 'Here we are in Hawaii!' seems a bit sudden - was there (realty agent, stockists?) stuff cut, or did people just not worry about that in the 80's?

Sebastian said...

First I thought "meh" but then Kurtwood Smith shows up. Taking into account what both he and Jane Kaczmarek did on "That 70s Show" and "Malcolm in the Middle" respectively, one has to wonder what this show here could've been if they'd just let you go on with it. It's a shame although I think Adam Arkin was better suited for "Chicago Hope". He's the only weak link I see in the cast to be honest. But who am I to judge...

Vermonter17032 said...

So, what was going to happen to these folks? Where was the story going? Inquiring minds want to know.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

(BTW, it's Monday morning, and all 3 vids played just fine...)

I wish there was a way to produce this expressly for YouTube and distribute it via viral marketing to millions in the target - folks who are thinking about escaping from their humdrum lives, or at least would enjoy the vicarious experience.

Perhaps a subscription-based distribution at Yahoo! or Google?

If production runs a million dollars per episode, that's a lot of subscribers to cover costs.

The alternative? Maybe there is no alternative to today's TV production circus; at least not a rational one.

I loved Big Wave Dave's because it changed my life. It was like...like...a thermonuclear Armageddon. I'm leaving for Kona in the morning...

Anonymous said...

From Jan:

Okay, now I want to see the rest. Some great lines. And my, how times have changed! There were actually about 24 minutes of program, and I could even read all the credits at the end. Ah, the good ol’ days!

Anonymous said...

For the folks that are getting "video not available" - I refreshed the page and that fixed it.

I enjoyed this show - well-written. I think I agree with the folks saying Adam Arkin isn't setting the world on fire, although I didn't mind him while I was watching. I've always liked David Morse - nice to see him in lighter material.

Judith

jbryant said...

frank, your're right: Ken is clearly cheating CBS out of royalties they might otherwise have earned in the lucrative 15-year-old unsold pilot market.

A. Scott said...

To the first poster (anonymous 7/6 9:21 pm), no that is NOT the guy from UGLY BETTY.

Ronzoni Rigatoni said...

Good gawd, the U tubes have disappeared. Halp!

Anonymous said...

I smiled through the whole thing. Thanks for posting.

DN said...

Loved the pilot. The jokes were fantastic; what's most impressive is how they tie in to the characters' flaws so seamlessly. Great job.

What was even more surprising was seeing Lenny Garnier's name as a first AD. I know him as a director now. That's awesome.

A. Buck short said...

Could it be dialogue like this and increasingly expensive and complex Youtube production values that bring back writer creative control with radio drama? Hey, the show runners are already content only voicing all the animation. Now this also dispenses with the animation? What a Hollywood concept. Minimalism. And you wouldn't even have to watch it on your phone. Next stop: reading.

Bitter Hawaiian said...

I was impressed that David Morse pronounced "Haleiwa" without sounding like as much of a goon as most haoles do when they think they're trying to "pronounce things correctly".

eric-paul said...

Hey, I remember this show. I was very sad it got cancelled.

Anonymous said...

This was great. I was out of the country when it aired. Where can I find more?

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken:

Really enjoyed it. Technically, it was pilot-perfect, introduces characters, sets up premise, establishes relationships and obstacles. I give it a solid 9.
Sorry it didn't fly. Should have.
The amount of ignorance out there is "stageering".

Treacle Cutter

Anonymous said...

Might be somewhat crass and excessively demanding, but are you going to post the other episodes?

DaveMB said...

I thought the pilot was fairly promising, though the rest of the series seems to have gotten consistently bad reviews all over the place.

Here's a piece of trivia I liked -- the "polynesian girl" seen briefly at the end of the pilot is credited as "Elsie Sniffen", her birth name, though she is better known as "Kayla Blake" according to IMDB. I noticed the name on the credits because "Elsie Snuffin" was the name of Danica McKellar's character on The West Wing -- Will Bailey's half-sister and co-worker. Since Kayla Blake worked on Sports Night with Sorkin, this can't be a coincidence, can it?

rory said...

I'm pretty sure it's the sort of in-jokery that's right up Sorkin's alley.

SeH said...

I loved the pilot! I'm usually not a big sitcom fan, but I laughed and smiled all the way through on this one. I've never quite understood why good shows get cancelled. Are the other five episodes out there anywhere?

Chris Zammarelli said...

A college roommate of mine and I both liked this show, and still sometimes quote the joke about "For Whom the Bell Tolls" to each other. Thanks for posting about it.

charliemingles said...

this is excellent. its nice to see david morse can do comedy so well and adam arkin is,as awlays, superb.

Ed Blonski said...

So what would happen if you were to pitch this show today? Say to TBS or TNT or something?

Any reason not to?

I mean, Parenthood is on its third incarnation, for crying out loud!

I say give this another chance!

chisum50@comcast.net said...

I remember the show , it was pretty cool, any chance to get a DVD of the shows that aired?, please let me know. Thanks!