Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wade Boggs and Baaaaa-d behavior

Happy May Day. Here’s are a couple of Friday questions that loosely relate to Sam “May Day” Malone.

From blog regular A. Buck Short:

In one of those wonderful Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern episodes you and David wrote, did somebody actually have to calculate how many sheep were needed to fill the Cheers backroom office? Or did you know you could get away with whatever would be sufficient for the camera angle?

As we were writing the first “Bar Wars” episode we just thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to see Rebecca enter her office and it was filled with sheep?” So we put it in. And voila, on filming day there they all were.

But yes, someone had to determine just how many sheep would be used. Before every episode there is a production meeting. Led by the First Assistant Director, all the department heads, show runners, producers, and the director sit around a table and go through the script carefully. There are a thousand questions to be answered with every show. Does the episode take place in the winter? Wardrobe needs to know. Should the actor have a coat or sweater? When an actor comes home with groceries, how many groceries? And what specifically are they? How many extras will be used in a scene? Will the phone ring live on stage or laid over in post production? So I’m sure in the “Bar Wars” production meeting there were discussions of how many sheep would be used, how would they be transported, how many shepherds would be required, and were any of the sheep minors that would require classroom time with the studio tutor?

Meanwhile it took us half a minute to dream up the bit and put it in the script.

And was Wade Boggs flown out specially to be in that, or was the taping scheduled for a time he had to be out there anyway to play Anaheim or somebody?

This was the last episode to be filmed that season. It was mid March. We were looking for a local very recognizable Boston sports figure for the bit. Unfortunately, the Red Sox were already in spring training in Winter Haven, Florida. Wade Boggs was our first choice and we asked our casting director to check and see if there was any possible way he might agree to do it. We figured it was a real Hail Mary, but what the hell? A half hour later we got the good news that Boggs was in. The Red Sox manager gave him a few days off. All we had to do was provide airfare and accommodations (in addition to his fee). David and I felt incredibly powerful. We just say “Wade Boggs” and poof, we make him appear!

It was only a couple of years later when his mistress Margot Adams wrote a big expose in PLAYBOY magazine detailing their affair. In her article she mentions how thrilled they were when this CHEERS gig came up because it meant a free trip to a three day tryst. He’d have guested on AGRICULTURE THIS WEEK if they popped for a first class plane ticket.

In the article, Margot also maintains that Boggs asked her for a pair of panties because he had promised the guys on the team that he could come back with Kirstie Alley’s panties. I was on the stage when Kirstie read this. Her expression was priceless. Kirstie was very cool about stuff like that. From then on I would occasionally say to her, “Listen, Kirstie, I’m going to my high school reunion and at graduation I promised the guys that I would bring a pair of your panties to the reunion so if you wouldn’t mind…?” She always laughed and told me to go fuck myself.

What’s your question? Just leave it in the comments section. Thanks. And again, may this be your best May Day EVER.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll bet Kirstie longs for the days when men would have wanted a token from her wardrobe.

She was great on and for Cheers. I don't think the show would have lasted as long as it did if Kirstie (and Kelsey and Bebe) hadn't come along.

The Thoughtful Viewer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Thoughtful Viewer said...

One of the really delightful aspects of Cheers was the number of really visual moments that stand out. Most comedies are dialogue driven, sophisticated ones like Cheers in particular, but every so often there would be a scene or just an image that was unforgettably funny, like the sheep in the office or Sam and Diane in the restaurant where he can't get up. The really great shows were able to get laughs in a variety of ways.

rob! said...

Ken-

Re: Larry Gelbart's comments on the TV Land Awards about how M*A*S*H is sadly still relevant--do you think M*A*S*H could be remade today, set during a different conflict? Or do you think the strong anti-Vietnam sentiment that was in the air during the movie and show's creation was the key ingredient for getting such an anti-establishment show on the air, and couldn't be replicated nowadays?

Chris L said...

The groceries question is easy. I've watch enough TV to know that it's always a brown paper bag with celery and French bread sticking out the top.

cleek said...

Who wrote Coach's "Albania" song? Everything I know about the country comes from that song, so I'd like to thank whoever wrote it. Sorry Macedonia, maybe someday someone will write a song for you.

artmonitor said...

Reading you for the first time. I want to add your blog to my google reader but no RSS button on sight. Could you please?

James said...

How much time in hair and make up did Bogg's 'stache require?

A. Buck Short said...

Asked and answered. Wade Boggs actually made it into a short video I did twenty years ago, because of the comedic "rule of threes." In it somebody asked me if there were any swamps in Massachusetts, and after failing to find any listed in The Yellow Pages, I apologized and said no. But we did have bogs. We had peat bogs, cranberry bogs, and ...we'll you know the rest. Incidentally, if you ever need to replicate this masterpiece, you should know that you can't pour a box of cranberries on the floor and expect them to bounce for effect. You have to substitute those reddish Boston Baked Beans peanut candies.

I once had an actor agree to fly into Boston from LA for a benefit. This was a class guy and I think he would have done it anyway, but it didn't hurt that a girlfriend happened to be arriving at Logan from a picture shooting in Europe the same day.

Nathan said...

As a location manager, this is why I love writers. It takes a whole lot more work to make Times Square look like it did in 1985 than it does to type those few words on your laptop.

I kid, but there really are times I want to reach across the country and wring someone's neck.

WV: mentica - a breath mint which also cures involuntary spasms.

Anonymous said...

@artmonitor

The RSS Feed for this blog is:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/kenlevine?format=xml

- a subscriber

Jim said...

A question coming from the comment above, how come we don't see so many visual jokes in comedies nowadays? Are they harder to write? Harder to sell? Harder to stage? Harder to perform? Have you ever been tempted in your career to produce a thirty (twenty-three? twenty-two? twenty-one?) homage to Sherlock Jr?

David K. M. Klaus said...

"Anonymous" wrote:

> I'll bet Kirstie longs for the
> days when men would have wanted
> a token from her wardrobe.

Men still do.

Attractiveness is more than the shape of skin. Intelligent is attractive. Funny is attractive. Lots of other qualities are attractive, too.

Not that I have any intention of doing anything about it (no stalking here, thank you) but to me Ms Alley was, is, and I'm sure always will be an extraordinarily attractive woman. And I'm also sure (to the point of John McLaughlin's "metaphysical certainty") that I'm not alone in this opinion.



Verification Word: "fishicu", obviously where the fish go for treatment after you remove them from the hook and throw them back.