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Here’s some Friday questions to read before going to the mall and exchanging all the crap you got yesterday.
Two MASH related questions come from Kurt Helf:
Who decides what bits to cut from a show, so we can view MORE of corporate America’s beloved commercials, after it goes to syndication? I’ve been watching early seasons of M*A*S*H and I see scenes, gems and some insightful moments really, that aren’t in the syndicated episodes.
This has always been a huge bone of contention because rarely does a show’s producer get a say in how his series is butchered for syndication. Suits in marketing departments or hired editors often are the ones assigned this task. In the case of MASH, some of the episodes are so badly chopped up they no longer make sense. It’s a travesty. I’m not saying it’s easy to take three minutes out of an episode of MASH, we crammed an awful lot of stuff into those original 24 minutes, but Jesus, O.J. could cut them up better. Buy or rent the DVD's. You'll be happy.
While I’ll never really quite understand why actors leave hit TV shows in which they’re BRILLIANT, Mclean Stevenson being the obvious archetype (he was SO GOOD in M*A*S*H), how/why is it that they tend to be so lousy in the vehicles that lured them away? What was the show Stevenson ended up in? “Hello Larry”?
Yes, that was the stinkburger. You’ll see AfterMASH reruns before HELLO LARRY returns to the airwaves.
The reason actors leave hit shows is usually because they’re dumb. They don’t realize that to be on a hit series, surrounded by gifted actors, and top flight writers is like winning the lottery. How many people win two lotteries? For every Clint Eastwood and Goldie Hawn who left hit shows and became major movie stars, there are a hundred MacLean Stevensons who wound up in THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE.
Yes, they may thank the writers and their fellow cast members when accepting awards but many of them are really thinking, “It’s ME! All ME.” It’s that kind of thinking that leads to a life of dinner theater.
And from Dave Shoff:
I just read an article about vanity cards being placed in the ending of a show. Chuck Lorre seemed to take great pride in them. Have you ever done such a thing, and if so, have any examples?
My partner and I have had a vanity card on two of our series but haven't done anything real creative. We just call our production company Levine & Isaacs Productions. Catchy, huh? I know a lot of producers like to take cute names. We don’t, although we did once flirt with “Six and Cancelled Production”.
As for the vanity card itself, we just have our names large enough that people can read them. And we did the card in black and white to stand out even more.
Chuck Lorre's vanity cards are great. He writes little essays. I don't have the heart to tell him he could do the same thing in a blog.
What’s your question?