Friday Questions to scan on your smart phone as you wait in line to return yesterday’s gifts:
Barry Traylor starts us off:
I have been binge watching the episodes of MASH with Harry Morgan as Col. Sherman T. Potter. I am old enough to remember him from Dragnet but I really love him as Col. Potter on MASH. What was he like to work with?
A dream. Had the ability to read a scene once and have it memorized. Could do take after take and give the same great performance. Always on time. Always prepared. Could play any emotion. Had perfect comic timing. The consummate pro.
And he always had such great stories. Before television Harry did hundreds of movies. Mention any major Hollywood star and he would have four stories – usually hilarious. Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Elvis – he worked with them all.
Just last week I saw some old movie on TV starring Joan Crawford (she seems to be a recurring theme in the blog this week) where she played a maniacal Broadway diva (big stretch for her) and Harry had a large role playing opposite her. My first thought was, “Damn! I wish I had known about this earlier. Oooooh, the stories Harry must’ve had.”
The last time I saw Harry it was at a local restaurant. It had been years since we’d seen each other. But he remembered my name instantly and at 89 or 90 still had a vice-like handshake.
It was an honor and a joy to know him. How nice that his work will continue to be enjoyed and appreciated long after his passing.
Texas Annie wonders:
How do you create decent comedy in these days of political correctness, trigger warnings, advancing narratives and backlash?
I try to ignore all of that. As long as my comedy doesn’t intentionally try to hurt someone and is not grossly inappropriate for the audience I’m targeting, I just try to write the funniest and sharpest material I can, knowing full well that some people will always be offended. The trolls will resurface as sure as day. So I expect it.
And it doesn’t even have to be a charged issue. I could make the most innocuous joke about orange juice and someone will write in furious because their uncle once choked on a glass of orange juice and I’m an insensitive asshole.
But I keep going back to that great Larry Gelbart quote:
If you write something that doesn’t offend anybody, go back and do it over.
-30- has a radio-related question:
In your multi-station radio career, you never seemed to be the morning man or did I not read the posts closely? It would seem like the comedian should be on in the AM, not 10 at night. Please explain.
Because I had a “youthful” voice, stations always put me in the evening “teen” timeslot. But you’re right. If they were smart they would have assigned me to mornings.
Truth be told, I never relished getting up at 3:30 every morning. Your life just becomes trying to catch up on sleep. Still, the money was better and the audience was bigger in morning drive. Had I been asked, I’m sure I would have done it (except at K100). Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten fired as often. Unless I slept through my alarm too many mornings.
And finally, from Hamid:
What's your favorite show or movie that Ted Danson has done outside of Cheers and Becker? Mine is Three Men and a Baby, but I also have a soft spot for Loch Ness, a very underrated film.
What’s your Friday Question?