I've been hearing this as a rumor for decades, that there was a C storyline written into every episode of M*A*S*H specifically so that it could be cleanly cut out to shorten the episodes for syndication without affecting the A and B storylines. People have been telling me my whole life, big a M*A*S*H fan as I am, that there are actually whole, complete storylines I've never seen because I've only ever watched the show in reruns. Is this true, Ken?
No. The shows were edited (a nice word for "hacked") for syndication but there were never pre-designed storylines for them to lift. So instead they just cut and trimmed whatever they wanted, sometimes leaving stories incomprehensible. If you're a MASH fan I suggest you watch the DVD's for the original versions. And a great new book is just out called "TV's MASH: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE BOOK" by Ed Solomonson & Mark O'Neill. It is 818 pages and has more stuff in there about MASH than anyone would ever want to know.
Mary Stella asks:
During last week's three hour commercial for Macy's and NBC, aka the parade, Al Roker interviewed several stars of NBC shows. One guy from a sitcom was markedly unfunny, even though he tried to be. When casting for a sitcom, do you try to find actors who are also naturally funny off-script or do you just need ones who can act with the comic timing, etc.?
Not all producers look for the same things but when I cast, first and foremost, I look for FUNNY people. Some people just have a natural gift or they have a funny look or voice or gait. The OFFICE and MODERN FAMILY are two perfectly cast shows in my estimation. Just looking at the cast photos you smile.
And I go for funny over good-looking. It’s amazing how much more attractive someone becomes if they can make you laugh. A great comparison of funny vs. attractiveness is the British and American versions of COUPLING. The U.K. cast is a little quirky, weird, goofy and brilliant. The U.S. cast was a J. Crew ad.
I don’t care if my cast members are good guests on talk shows. We’ll write them funny things to say. And if they want to go on THE VIEW, well, they can’t say I didn’t warn them.
Today I will be attending a preliminary audition for Britain's Got Talent (my son signed me up). Do you have any suggestions for how to make the best impression on the 3rd AD who I will be trying to impress?
Wear a schlumpy house dress and sing “I Dreamed a Dream”. If that doesn’t work, sleep with somebody. Good luck. If you make it through let us know. I’d like to become the official blog of BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT.
From Rick Whelan
Whatever happened to your planned movie about the Brill building geniuses (like Ellie Greenwich)who wrote most of the rock 'n roll songs of the early 60s? I'd love to see their story told!
It wasn’t a movie. It was a planned musical. There had been several movies in development on the Brill Building but they never got off the ground. There was a 1996 film called GRACE OF MY HEART starring Illeana Douglas as sort of a Carole King character but that movie strayed from reality to the point where it could have been a western.
Having now co-written the book for a produced musical I see how incredibly hard it is to get one of these things mounted. Especially if you don’t have investors going in. Imagine writing a spec screenplay that would cost as much as AVATAR to produce. Good luck selling it. That’s how it is with a spec musical.
I’d still like to do the project one day. I have a rough outline and know just where the story is going. If someone out there has a few millions and is looking to be a Broadway producer, give me a call.
Okay, the Banzai Pipeline seems gnarly enough to surf. Gotta go. Leave your questions in the comments section. Mahalo.