Join in the fun! Leave your questions in the comments section. Thanks.
Rob starts us off:
Around 1977 there were a series of episodes where Loretta Swit appeared in only one scene and was absent from the rest of the show - even the OR scenes. Do you remember if she shot a bunch of random scenes in one day? In the mystery-novel show Nurse Bigelow had more screen time than Margaret!
Wow, you're observant. Or you had a huge crush on Loretta Swit. Loretta was sick for about three weeks in the summer of that season so we had to work around her. Just one of those things writing staffs have to deal with on an almost daily basis. But boy was I thrilled the day she came back.
Allie Illwaco has another MASH question:
Curious, did you get to meet Dr. Richard Hooker?
No. I never met him... or "them."
As reader Johnny Walker pointed out, Dr Richard Hooker" was a pseudonym for two guys: H. Richard Hornberger, the guy who was actually a doctor in a M*A*S*H unit, and his ghostwriter/helper, W.C. Heinz.
Hornberger was very bitter that he sold off the rights to MASH to 20th Century Fox and thus never participated in the windfall bonanza that that property yielded. (Of course at the time, who knew?) So he refused to have any involvement with the show. Or us.
On our own however, we did manage to track down the real doctor Hawkeye was modeled after and flew to Phoenix to interview him. That was very cool.
How many degrees away from Kevin Bacon are you? (Full disclosure - I'm two - I used to sing with Calista Flockhart before she was famous-High School-and she did some movie with Kevin Bacon.)
Asking, because I wonder how many degrees from you I am removed. (Assuming blogs don't count.)
I’m only one degree away. Here’s a post I once wrote about it.
Do you think networks will consider new anthology shows? Either with rotating casts and stories like "The Twilight Zone", or with a couple of constant characters but guest casts and settings like "Quantum Leap" and "Touched By An Angel"?
For several reasons networks shy away from anthologies. First off – they’re expensive. New sets, new cast each week. And secondly – viewers tend to like the continuity of characters and situations they are familiar with.
Sitcoms have shorter running time than they did in the 70s (a recent Big Bang episode ran 20:03 compared to Mary Tyler Moore's 25:00 average). So does this shorten the time it takes to shoot an episode as well as giving the writers more time during the week to work on the script?
Actually Stephen, the shorter running time makes it harder for writers. It’s more difficult to tell a story with any depth when you have so little time. And when you have B and C stories you’re really up shit’s creek.
Remember, shows got shorter not because the networks felt they would be better creatively as a result. Their time got slashed so networks could sell more commercials.