Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Questions

Here hey are:

Todd A. starts us off:

Both Cheers and Wings went through a couple cast shakeups.Wings alone added Tony Shaloub, Farrah Forke & Amy Yasbek, while losing Thomas Haden Church. Have you ever had any less than favorable reactions from original cast members when a new castmember is added? Conversely, how do cast members react when a colleague gets another opportunity and bails, potentially jeopardizing the harmony of a tight ensemble?

I’ve been very lucky. When there have been cast changes on shows I’ve worked on – like MASH, CHEERS, BECKER, and WINGS -- the casts have embraced the new actors. They recognized that new blood can often re-energize a show and add a few more years to the life of the series. They also happened to be lovely people.

But there are plenty of cases where a cast will feel threatened by new members.  And then life on the set is hell for everybody. 

There are also actors who count the number of lines they have in a script. By the way, if we catch an actor on one of our shows doing that, the next week he will see that the number of lines he has is zero.

When a castmember leaves an existing hit, I’ve seen their fellow actors react in one of three ways -- 1) happy for him that he got this opportunity, 2) resentment either due to jealousy or just the added uncertainty of what impact his departure will have on the future of the show and him, and 3) bafflement, or as I’d like to call it “the McLean Stevenson Syndrome.”

Along those lines, Basil Kiva wonders:

How close was Cheers in renewing for a 12th Season and do you think that all shows should die a natural death at seasons 10-11 if they make it that far (except for animated shows like Family Guy, Simpsons and South Park)

CHEERS would have easily been renewed had Ted Danson wanted to come back. I think we could have gotten one or maybe two more years out of the show, but it was getting harder and harder to come up with stories. And the actors were understandably losing interest. So, all things considered, it was time.

I can’t speak for all shows but yeah, usually ten is the expiration date.

GaryJ asks:

You mention Elizabeth Montgomery a lot. Why do you have such a thing for Elizabeth Montgomery?

Answer:
From Austin:

Here is a possible topic for a future blog: Funniest Novel (You may have covered this topic before, but it may be time for a rehash).

CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES by John Kennedy Toole. It’s a comic wonder. I’m teaching a course on comedy at USC starting next week and that book is on my required reading list.

The saga of the book's history is quite remarkable. It was written in the early ‘60s by a young man in his 20’s. He shopped the manuscript around for a number of years, kept getting jerked around by editors, and eventually, out of despair killed himself.

A number of years later his mother happened to meet author Walker Percy and asked if he’d read her son’s unpublished manuscript. He agreed and was horrified to see a giant box of smudged pages arrive at his office. It’s quite a big book.

He dutifully started reading and was shocked to discover that it not only was good, it was GREAT.

He got it published and the book became a national best-seller and won a Pulitzer Prize.

CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES is so good I try to re-read it every few years.

There have been numerous attempts to make it into a movie but so far no one has been able to crack it. So much of the book is the attitude of the main character and how he misinterprets everything around him and it’s hard to adapt that. I’ve read several screenplay attempts and they all fall flat. They follow the story and even contain a lot of the actual dialogue but they can’t really capture the spirit and essence of the book. Not that I could either.

What’s your question? Leave it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

69 comments:

Brian O. said...

Elizabeth Montgomery...mmmm.

Mac said...

I love Confederacy Of Dunces. Weirdly, I think Ignatius' time has come and he's more relevant than he was when the book first came out - because everybody's Ignatius now - slagging off everything in internet forums, the way Ignatius used to go to the cinema and audibly slag off the films. Also, you get the impression that the most critical internet comments are from man-children who (like Ignatius) still live with their Mum and are basically unemployable. I believe Stephen Fry was writing an adaptation but I don't know if that's still happening.

Johnny Walker said...

Re: COD. How heartbreaking! Yet another tragedy at the hands who try and guess what the public will buy. Maddening.

Primigenius said...

Elizabeth Montgomery as Lizzie Borden in the made-for-TV flick was incredibly hot. She was an excellent actress. And I'm just now having an email exchange with someone who "just can't get into " Confederacy of Dunces. Having read it six or seven times, that baffles me. But she's not the first I've had this go-round with.

Charles H. Bryan said...

Great answer to the Elizabeth Montgomery question - we should ask you about her more often.

Instead, I've got this question: Ken, is Yankees' radio broadcaster John Sterling sort of insane?

(In lieu of a direct response, another photo of Ms. Montgomery is perfectly acceptable.)

(Yes, I'm too lazy to just go to Google Images myself.)

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I will check out Confederacy of Dunces. In the meantime, I will make a very small pitch for my father's favorite comic novel, And the Boss is Crazy, Too... by Mell Lazarus (before he created the Momma comic strip, I guess). My father's fondness for it derives in part from the fact that he was in the printing business...and the book is about the owner of a comic book printing business who is trying to drive it *out* of business.

But still. They don't make them like that any more.

wg

Joel Keller said...

From everything I've read about Liz Montgomery, including what you've written, Ken, the fascination with her is there not just because she was beautiful. She seemed like just the kind of whip-smart, bawdy, fun, intriguing woman that most guys would chase to the ends of the earth if they met her at some random party somewhere. If it was just her looks, it would be one thing. But everything I've read and seen about her basically said she was the whole package and then some.

Breadbaker said...

I loved "A Confederacy of Dunces" and also "The Neon Bible" (Toole's other novel).

My favorite comic novel is "Rumor of an Elephant", by Alain Gerber. Like a lot of such novels, very hard to precis in a sentence or two, but it's about collective madness.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

"You mention Elizabeth Montgomery a lot. Why do you have such a thing for Elizabeth Montgomery?"

Whaddya mean WHY does someone have such a thing for Elizabeth Montgomery? Seriously? D00d, what is YOUR deal? That's like asking today's average young male why he has such a thing for Mila Kunis.

Anonymous said...

I'm straight and even I have a thing for Elizabeth Montgomery.

Pam aka sisterzip

Jeffro said...

Give GaryJ some credit. At least he didn't ask Ken the same question about Natalie Wood.

Also, "Elisabeth Montgomery": even hearing her name spoken out loud is sexy (yet always classy). Sure beats hearing "Paris Hilton" uttered out loud. BLECH!

Matthew E said...

I am always on the lookout for any really funny novel I've never read before, so I make sure to pay attention any time anybody recommends something.

Unfortunately, quite often the recommendation is just for A Confederacy of Dunces all over again. Man, I disliked that book. I didn't laugh once and found reading it to be a very unpleasant experience.

Obviously that's why they make chocolate and vanilla; oh well. There's plenty of other stuff I do find funny that I've listed here (http://matthewe.com/2011/04/16/funniest-novels-of-all-time/); perhaps we can agree on some of those. One that I might specifically mention is Sherwood Kiraly's California Rush, a great lost classic of a baseball novel that Ken, as a west-coast baseball guy himself, may have some affinity for.

Covarr said...

For another Friday:

One thing I've noticed and really appreciated about shows you've worked on is that cast replacements tend to be wholly new characters, not just someone else doing the same thing. My favorite example is Charles Winchester, who was really nothing like Frank Burns. My question is, have you or someone you've worked with ever been tempted to write a character as just a carbon copy of their predecessor? What measures do you take to prevent this from happening?

Johnny Walker said...

Turns out a friend of mine is reading Confederacy of Dunces at the moment and is struggling with it. No likable characters is his complaint. It's odd that such a well regarded book should have so strong a split -- lots of people really dislike it, it seems.

I've ordered a copy to see what I think.

Has anyone here initially disliked it, but later learned to enjoy it?

RCP said...

Primigenius said...

"Elizabeth Montgomery as Lizzie Borden in the made-for-TV flick was incredibly hot."

True. In fact, right after she hacked her stepmother and father to death with an axe, I had to take a cold shower.

Loved your response to the Elizabeth Montgomery question, Ken. Like you and others here, I share the love.

Dan Ball said...

Hey Ken, here's a Friday query:

Sometime, will you post your class syllabus and maybe share some thoughts on the material you'll cover and your insights on teaching?

I've just started grad school myself, so I'm in education-mode now. While our program's offering Advanced Screenwriting and Advanced Directing, I wish there was a comedy writing class. It's such a different beast from any other screen genre.

I was talking to a friend who'd graduated from Second City Chicago's sketch comedy class and he was sharing some of the concepts behind comedy with me that he learned there. In some ways, I felt like the basics of comedy should be integrated into general screenwriting theory. The techniques you use to evoke laughter could be used to evoke scares or thrills, because it's all about manipulating the emotions of the audience. From my perspective, a better story that makes.

Chicago Pinot said...

Since you mentioned “In a World” yesterday, let’s talk more broadly about movie trailers. Do you think Old School Hollywood did them better? Does it take a different skill set to make an enticing trailer, as opposed to a full-length feature?

Unknown said...

I love "Dunces" and read it every few years, also. Here's a funny but obscure book "Three Men in a Boat (to Say Nothing of the Dog)" written over a hundred years ago by a writer named Jerome K. Jerome. A poster was made using one of its lines "I love work. Work fascinates me. I can sit and stare at it for hours."

peabody nobis said...

Ah, Liz Montgomery...I was only 6 or 7 when Bewitched started. I was immediately smitten, even at that young age. She was sooo sexy wiggling that nose.
Between her and Mary Tyler Moore, I felt blessed growing up watching TV. Did anyone look hotter with a tan than Mary did in the '70s?

Tudor Queen said...

Elizabeth Montgomery was and remains an underrated actress, Emmy awards notwithstanding. Also beautiful, smart and classy.

Tried COD a long time ago, didn't like it, but my sense of humor has become a lot stranger - suddenly a huge Martin McDonagh fan - I may give it another go.

If I were an actor on one of your shows, I wouldn't count my lines; I'd thank you for them.

Jim K said...

Wasn't Liz every boy's dream back in the 60-70's? And I don't mean in some sordid, sleazy way. She was the complete package. It showed.

My favorite Password contestant ever. Smart as a whip, fun and funny. Still miss her.

Andrew said...

I have a follow-up question to the Elizabeth Montgomery answer:
You do think with your penis a lot, don't you? Are there any actresses that you appreciate without degrading them to their looks?

iain said...

Andrew thinks Ken should feel bad & we should all feel bad if we agree with Ken about EM.

Nope. Not one bit.

Foaming Solvent said...

I liked "Confederacy of Dunces" but did not love it.

If you want funny, read "7 1/2 Cents" by Richard Bissell. It was turned into the musical "The Pajama Game" which has some nice songs but is maybe 1/10 as funny as the book.

Elmore Leonard was quoted once as saying that Bissell was a big influence on him.

Donald said...

And Inger Stevens. Let's not forget Inger Stevens!

Wayne said...

For forgotten funny novels,
I second "The Boss is Crazy Too."
And add "Sleep Till Noon" by Max Shulman.
And there's a wealth of wonderful from the pen of Peter De Vries. Time has been kinder to his growing up epistles like "Slouching Toward Kalamazoo."

Cap'n Bob said...

If you want funny books try the Trace books by Warren B. Murphy. This was made into a TV series and, naturally, everything that made the books good was removed for the show. As a result, the show stunk and died after one season.

Liz Montgomery? I crawl naked over a mile of broken glass just to see the color of her undies.

Mike Schryver said...

A Confederacy of Dunces has been sitting in my to-be-read pile for a long time. Guess it's time to pick it up and read it.

Like many other gay men, I really liked Elizabeth Montgomery, for reasons that have nothing to do with sexual attraction, at least in my case. There's something about the way she carried herself, and her persona. She just exuded class.

YEKIMI said...

Wow! If I thought with my penis, I'd be a genius!

404 said...

I laughed out loud at Andrew's comment, until I realized he was serious. Clearly, he hasn't bothered to tune in and read all the times you HAVE praised the abilities, talent, brains and work ethic of females in the business, be they writers, actresses, or whatever. How dare you also appreciate beauty?

I kinda feel bad dignifying his answer with a response.

D. McEwan said...

I had a dear friend for many years, dead now, named Ed Cotter. Ed was an editor at Paramount. He won an Emmy for editing Happy Days. Ed edited the TV movie where Elizabeth Montgomery played Lizzie Borden. It's well known that Elizabeth shot a lengthy nude scene for that movie of Lizzie wandering about the house in a weird state at night naked. None of the nude footage made it into the finished film, but Ed saw every frame of it. (Literally every frame.) Is that what they mean by "Envy the dead"?

A good friend of mine, a conductor and music arranger named David Snyder, once said: "Now that I'm past 40, I no longer think with my penis, however, it iIS still one of my top advisers."

I know of two very funny novels I could recommend, but it would seem self-serving, on account of it being so.

chalmers said...

Here's Ken's post entitled "Women I Love." The list includes all types of different women and he gives them honest praise for all kinds of different qualities. First on the list is Margo Martindale.

http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2011/04/women-i-love.html

DBenson said...

A trivia note: The unnamed Doris Day movie that moves Ignatius to ecstasies of outrage is "Jumbo."

It doesn't quite make the cut as either classic or MST3K awful; just a lot of squandered resources and talented stars laboring to very limited effect. The endless closing fantasy number is hilariously of an exact time, place and mindset in Hollywood history.

D. McEwan said...

OK, here's some comic novels I can recommend without being self-serving: Nightlife of the Gods by Thorne Smith. There's a four page sequence in one chapter where the Greek gods are slapping each other with dead fish in a Manhattan fish market that may be the funniest four pages I have ever read. The rest of the book is likewise hilarious. Topper and Topper Returns by Thorne Smith. Turnabout by Thorne Smith. Anything else by Throne Smith.

Anything and everything by Patrick Dennis. Dennis (actually Edward Everett Tanner III) is The Master. Auntie Mame and Little Me are his masterpieces, but even his weakest books are going to make you laugh.

A trilogy of novels, Blue Heaven, Putting on the Ritz and My Lucky Star by Joe Keenan, are just friggin' hysterically funny. They should be read in the order I've listed them.

In my humble and always abject opinion Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is the greatest comic novel of the 20th Century. I'm rereading his Something Happened even now. SH is not a lot of laughs (though there are certainly some great ones), but it's a hell of a great novel. Most books by Heller are more than worth your time.

Lorimartian said...

I loved A Confederacy of Dunces, which consistently made me laugh out loud, but my sister "couldn't get into it." As far as translating it to the screen, I've always thought quality animation or a combination of live action/animation might be the way to go. Ken, did any of the screenplay attempts you read involve animation?

Paul Duca said...

Doug...Ken has written about David Issacs (who worked at ABC handling film) informing him about Liz's nude scene--which I understand WAS in the European theatrical version.

Paul Palmer's Boutique said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Palmer's Boutique said...

Hi Ken - Wow, I am now an Elizabeth Montgomery fan, too!

Ken, you mentioned Cheers running out of potential stories. In 1991, my writing partner and I wrote a spec for Cheers called "Now That's Class". We were just out of college and living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at the time. So we didn't know anything or anybody.

It was about Cliff getting into Harvard and becoming a Women's Studies Major. The premise went like this: Cliff, as a long-time mail carrier for Harvard, had been awarded a free semester of classes. By coincidence, Frazier's wife, Lilith, is also teaching a class that semester at Harvard and all the guys end up in the class in the penultimate scene.

Anyway, by 1993, we submitted our spec to William Morris (as my brother new an assistant there) and we received incredible, over the top, coverage and compliments on it! The great coverage wasn't just aimed at our premise, they loved the writing! Hey, we could sling it with the best. However, we were told that Cheers was in its final season and they weren't accepting anymore scripts. They then asked us to write more specs. Out Cheers spec was so good, they were dubious of our authorship!!!!

Anyway, I'm curious, have you ever heard of our spec? Our idea? And if not, what do you think of it now?

Respectfully,

Brian

gottacook said...

One of the most depressing books I ever read (and reviewed in the university daily in 1989), Outrageous Conduct: Art, Ego and the Twilight Zone Case, ended with an even more depressing news item: The person at the center of the case, director John Landis, had plans to film Confederacy of Dunces. Luckily this hasn't happened, at least not yet.

Animation? Then there'd be debate over the voice cast. And there's still the problem (as mentioned) that so much of the book consists of Ignatius' attitudes toward and (mis)understanding of the world.

Toole's book is unwreckable. Any attempt to film it that doesn't ring true will be quickly forgotten, just like that other decades-awaited adaptation On the Road earlier this year.

K Bene said...

I just realized you guested, along with your esteemed writing partner on Stu's show a couple weeks ago. How about posting these appearances on your blog so we can make an effort to tune in. I believe you can download old shows for 99 cents. How about giving Stu a plug; he's done the same for you.

Ken Levine said...

I usually do plug Stu's show. And I always plug any appearances I make on Twitter. So the best thing to do is is follow me on Twitter.

That show with David and I was terrific. Worth even $1.01.

Brian said...

Hi Ken - Wow, I am now an Elizabeth Montgomery fan, too!

Ken, you mentioned Cheers running out of potential stories. In 1991, my writing partner and I wrote a spec for Cheers called "Now That's Class". We were just out of college and living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at the time. So we didn't know anything or anybody.

The premise went like this: Cliff, as a long-time mail carrier for Harvard, has been awarded a free semester of classes and declares himself a Women's Studies major. By coincidence Lilith, is also teaching a Women's Studies class that semester at Harvard and all the guys end up in the class in the penultimate scene.

Anyway, by 1993, we submitted our spec to William Morris (as my brother new an assistant there) and we received very flattering coverage and compliments on it! The great coverage wasn't just aimed at our premise, they loved the writing!

However, we were told that Cheers was in its final season and they weren't accepting anymore scripts. They then asked us to write more specs. Out Cheers spec was so strong, they were dubious of our claimed authorship!!!!

Anyway, I'm curious, have you ever heard of our spec? Our idea? And if not, what do you think of it now?

Respectfully,

Brian

PS - Sorry for the double posting, but I wanted to edit the post.

pumpkinhead said...

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600271.txt

Nightlife of the Gods, as suggested by Mr McEwan. Do a search to find the second occurrence of "fish market" within the document to find the sequence he describes.

Kaleberg said...

I started reading Confederacy of Dunces, but the main character was annoying and uninteresting. I also didn't realize that it was a comedy. I also found some of the racist stuff a little grating, but maybe that's just me. I think I got about 1/4 through before punting.

This may have been because I had recently finished Gravity's Rainbow which was hilarious if not all that coherent.

A Non-Emus said...

No offense, GaryJ. But that was the dumbest question I've ever read.

Well, I guess that's kinda offensive.

Mark said...

Hi Ken-

I would love to know the rest of the books you recommend on your reading list for the class you are teaching at SC.

Thanks,
Mark

Harry said...

Ken, what are your thoughts on That '70s Show? I feel it is pretty underrated, and deserves to be considered a classic.

Wayne said...

The sexy Liz Montgomery photo reminds me. When I watched DVDs of TAXI, I couldn't help noticing Marilu Henner braless. Why no bra? Since it was Marilu Henner, we can rule out she forgot. But Taxi started on the network of CHARLIE'S ANGELS. Was it a network rule Marilu Henner go braless? If you were the show runner, what would you say to Marilu braless?

Pat Reeder said...

I'm worried about poor Andrew. It must be painful to sit in front of the computer with that big stick up his ass.

I appreciate a good comic novel almost as much as that photo of Elizabeth Montgomery, having taken a pass at one of those two impossible dreams myself. Keeping a comic novel from pooping out before the end is like trying to keep a soap bubble floating in mid-air for two hours. I'm glad Doug mentioned Thorne Smith, who's often forgotten these days. And Peter DeVries, who writes the best opening sentences ever. I'll also put in a plug for Max Shulman. By coincidence, I just bought a new (old) copy of "Rally 'Round The Flag, Boys" from Amazon a couple of weeks ago. Here's an excerpt from it. What a fantastic piece of writing:

http://www.sheilaomalley.com/?p=8164

Mike said...

You mention Debra Messing a lot. What is it with you and La Messing?

James Peale said...

YES! To Three Men In A Boat.

Ron Clark said...

I tried to wade through A Confederacy of Dunces twice, and it defeated me both times. I couldn't even say why, other than the book left me with a slightly sticky feeling, like I'd accidentally put on someone else's dirty socks. I knew it was supposed to be funny, but the central character's unpleasantness drowned out the humor for me.

Ron Clark said...

And as for Andrew's statement about Ken objectifying Elizabeth Montgomery: She is standing there in a black babydoll, looking like the personification of sex appeal. Maybe Andrew is light years ahead of the rest of us on the enlightenment scale, but my first thought when I see that photo is not "wow, I wonder how good she is at Calculus?", nor is that the image that she is trying to project in that photo. Ease up on yourself Andrew; it's ok to think someone is hot without joining the rest of us knuckle dragging mouth breathers....

Pixie Portnoy said...

Another vote for Patrick Dennis, wish more of his books were in print. Genius is one of the funniest books I've ever read; Tony is great too, though a bit flawed in execution. I think Around the World with Auntie Mame is much funnier (and darker) and a better read than the original Auntie Mame.

But maybe the best and funniest is The Joyous Season, which came out in a new edition recently.

I read that Kelsey Grammar optioned a bio of Dennis for a film adaptation. Ken, do you know if there's any update on that project?

Igor said...

Ken - Can you top this one?

CNN: Pennsylvania baseball team awards man a free funeral

D. McEwan said...

Pixie Portnoy! How lovely to hear from an actual character in Little Me!

Dennis's out-of-print books can usually be found on Alibris or eBay, which is where I got my first editions of Genius and The Joyous Season (which was Dennis's own personal favorite of his works).

I genuinely hope that Grammar does not film Eric Myers's wonderful biography of Dennis/Tanner, Uncle Mame, having ever less patience with that Republican. However, it's a tale worth filming. Bear in mind how successful Tanner/Dennis was. He was the first author EVER to have three books on the NY Times Bestseller list at the same time. But then, Dennis gave it all up, deciding that he was written out. He said: "I've said everything I have to say three times." He decided he was gay, left his wife, changed his name, and became a butler for Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's, who went to his grave never knowing his butler had written Auntie Mame. Later, when Dennis/Tanner came down with cancer, his wife took him back in and nursed and cared for him until his too-young death. He was one of those rare people who was loved by everyone who ever met him. He was devoid of enemies.

I don't know that I'd say Around the World with Auntie Mame is "better" than Auntie Mame, but it's pretty damn good. It would make a lovely mini-series.

The reprint of Around the World with Auntie Mame that came out about a decade ago, and is easily available, contains the chapter Auntie Mame and Mother Russia, which is not in my (or anyone else's) first edition, and was only published for the first time in that reprint. Since it involved Mame living briefly on a commune in Russia, in the 1950s his publishers were, insanely, afraid of publishing it during the Red Scare. This is absurd; Mame Dennis, with her love of wealth, jewels and high living, is about as much of a communist as Zsa Zsa Gabor, and the chapter mocks communism in a manner more likely to please than outrage nasty old Joe McCarthy.

Frankly, I can not fathom why no one ever filmed The Joyous Season, as it would easily make a perfect 1950s romantic comedy, far more easily adapted for film than the episodic, plotless Aunite Mame. Even Dennis himself expressed tremendous admiration for Lawrence & Lee, who very well adapted AM for the stage, finding and making a coherent plot out of this mass of hilarious connected episodes. The great Comden & Green's screenplay for AM made only the slightest of changes from Lawrence & Lee's stage play, opening it up just a tiny bit.

Lee said...

There are also actors who count the number of lines they have in a script. By the way, if we catch an actor on one of our shows doing that, the next week he will see that the number of lines he has is zero.

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams used to do that on Laverne and Shirley. Betty Garrett (who was on the series as Laverne and Shirley's landlady for a few years) told me that. They were very jealous of each other and quite competitive. At times they wouldn't talk to each other directly expect when in character. Everything had to be relayed though an intermediary, even if the two were seated or standing next to each other. Garrett said that was the worst set she'd ever worked on. The series went through a ton of writers, in part because they were treated so badly by the cast. There was one notorious incident when a cast member left a script in the writer's room with a turd on top of it. Garry Marshall read the cast the riot act over that one.

Dennis said...

My question regarding the Laverne and Shirley situation is why in the hell would a producer put up with nonsense like that? I guess it happens, though. We've all heard stories about stars who made their sets hell. (Fran Drescher, Cybill Shepherd). And stars who just made everybody else miserable. (Florence Henderson said she didn't think there was a day on the Brady Bunch set that Robert Reed didn't spend griping and complaining. Okay, it was a crap show, but he knew what he was getting into when he signed on for it. Why spend the next six years making everybody else miserable?)

Powerhouse Salter said...

Question: Are royalties evenly distributed between episodes when a series goes into syndication? Let's say that you wrote two episodes in the same season, yet one of those episodes rarely if ever gets rerun.

AndrewJ said...

There have been numerous attempts to make it into a movie but so far no one has been able to crack it. So much of the book is the attitude of the main character and how he misinterprets everything around him and it’s hard to adapt that. I’ve read several screenplay attempts and they all fall flat.

Harold Ramis was attached to a Dunces movie, but dropped out. He later said that a comedy only works when you have a) a sane man in a crazy world or b) a crazy man in a sane world -- but Dunces couldn't be filmed because it was about a crazy man in an equally crazy world.

RCP said...

In the Lizzie Borden TV movie, the theory was that she murdered her parents in the nude so there wouldn't be bloodstains on her clothing. The murders took place in the morning. So why would they have lengthy footage of Elizabeth wandering about in the nude at night when they knew it wouldn't make it into the movie (at least domestically) and it wasn't really integral to the plot? It's baffling.

Some great book recommendations here.

D. McEwan said...

Another comic novelist you can't go wrong with is Douglas Adams.

Rich D said...

@D. McEwan - I was scrolling through the comments thinking to myself "Where's the Doug Adams?" and you come through right at the end and save the day!

Another good novel I haven't seen mentioned is James Robert Baker's "Boy Wonder."

Storm said...

Douglas, darling, you're so hip, you can't see past your pelvis. ;)

Cheers, as always,

Storm

AndrewJ said...

And given Mr. Levine's radio background, another appropriate comic novel to mention here would be Stanley Elkin's THE DICK GIBSON SHOW.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading Three Men in a Boat! Wonderful! Fun Victorian travelogue on the Thames river!

This paper back book was printed by a high tech copier a few days after I ordered it. The last page reads: Made in the USA, Lexington, KY,24 July 2013. It's also a first printing. I find this interesting. Print as needed. Seeing this, I now suspect any book printed from a copier is a by demand book. A friend asked how I know this. The text is raised. Another book made this way was written in 2006 and it is a first edition. I don't like this way of producing books. It's distracting.

Barb

slummingitforthelord said...

There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding John Kennedy Toole's suicide being connected to his being unable to get Dunces published. An interesting book is http://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Typewriter-Kennedy-Remarkable-Confederacy/dp/B00AZ8NXLA

It is pretty obvious (based on Toole's) behavior towards the end that he was schizophrenic....or some other closely related mental illness. Simply being unable to get a book published does not cause an otherwise healthy person to act the way he did. Example....thinking some of the students at the school where he taught were "stalking" him....driving by his house at night. One old friend recalls being in a car and JKT claiming they were being followed, despite the fact that there not. The whole inability to get the book published causing him to give up and kill himself makes an "interesting" story but the truth is much more fascinating than that.

Mike said...

Belated thank you for that picture of Elizabeth Montgomery.

Weeze Chinchilla said...

What did Ignatious put in the bread box other than bread?