For you new readers: every Friday I answer your questions. And if I don't know the answers I'll either seek out someone who does or just make something up. Leave yours in the comments section. Thanks. One thing I ask: please use a name. Don't be Anonymous.
Hey Ken, have you heard anything about the Cheers reunion rumors?
I hadn’t heard but I can say this – not a chance. (I wonder if Anonymous is really Cliff Clavin???) And I’m glad. Reunion shows are always sad. Much better to remember the characters for who they were… and what they weighed.
Plus, good luck getting NBC to put on a series (ANY series) starring a cast of 60 year-olds. You’ll see Conan back there first.
From Dawn Marie:
I was lucky enough to see Harriet Harris recently in 'Present Laughter' in New York, and was wondering how her character of Frasier's agent Bebe came about. Was it written especially for her? Those were some of my favorite episodes. Thank you!
First off, I LOVE Harriet Harris. I was not in on any of those FRASIER decisions, so again I turn to series co-creator and this blog’s best friend, David Lee who graciously fills in the details.
No it wasn't written specifically for Harriet. We just wrote the part of a piranha-like agent and held a usual casting session. I had seen the play JEFFREY in NYC the year before and had thought Harriet was terrific. As it happened, at the time we were casting the part it was playing at the Westwood Playhouse (now the Geffen) here in LA, and Jeff Greenberg had her in to read. She of course was perfect and knocked it out of the park as you baseball folk say. She scored so well that we just kept bringing her back again and again.
As a side note, we used almost the entire cast of JEFFREY that first year on "Frasier." There was something about the style of actor needed for the Paul Rudnick play that seemed to mesh perfectly with our show. Harriet, Edward Hibbert (Gil, the restaurant critic), Richard Poe (Chopper Dave), Patrick Kerr (Noel Shemsky) and John Michael Higgins( a guest spot that eludes my memory) were all in that play. I think Bryan Batt was the only one who somehow escaped us.
Thanks again, David. Note: If you're in LA, David directed a brilliant production of FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM for the Reprise program at UCLA. Go see it.
On MASH, how did you guys come up with all those brilliant "Potterisms"? Were they pulled out of the ether? Researched?
No matter how many times I hear them, I'll never get tired of lines like "sufferin sheepdip!" or "What in the name of Sweet Fanny Adams!"
Most of them we made up. I believe Jim Fritzell & Everett Greenbaum created that character trait for Potter, and I suspect some of the original ones were old time expressions or bastardizations of old time expressions. Those two gentlemen had such an ear for Americana, colorful slang, and euphemisms for shit.
And finally, from DwWashburn:
I notice that some of your daily posts gets scores of comments while others may only get 5 or so. Do you ever get upset or feel like you didn't "reach" the audience when the number of comments are low?
I never equate the popularity of a post to the number of comments it receives. Certain topics will generate more comments than others. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better topics. If I wanted a ton of comments every day I would just make daily mention of Patty Heaton.
Sometimes comments are generated by the threads you guys start. I often feel like a hockey referee. I just drop the puck and let the teams play… although I do reserve the right to send any of you to the penalty box if you get out of hand. No personal attacks or high sticking.
But I invite you to read the comments and comment yourself. Sometimes they’re more entertaining than the posts themselves. I both love and hate that.
What’s your question???