As we March into Friday Questions:
Stephen Marks asks:
You and Mr. Issacs wrote a script called "Him" for "Big Wave's Dave" (E6) where one character quoted Ernest Hemingway and another Truman Capote. How do you know if these references are too obscure or erudite for the viewers?
We used those references to help define those characters and their worldviews. And I’m a firm believer that you never write down to your audience. We assume our viewers have heard of Capote and Hemingway. And as you’ll recall in that episode, they also make a Jackie Collins literary reference. So we’re not that highbrow.
Larry Gelbart was so naturally funny. Did he have any have special joke forms he favored?
Larry tended not to do set up/punch line type jokes. His laughs flowed through the dialogue. He was a true wordsmith, and utilized wordplay frequently. He got a lot of fun out of characters unintentionally mangling the language. If you ever get a chance, read a copy of his play MASTERGATE. It has the greatest double-talk you will ever read.
Watching the drug co exec (not) testify before Congress today made me think of corporate malfeasance and wonder--in your radio days did anyone ever approach you with anything that resembled payola or did you ever see anybody at any station who could be bought? Don't take the 5th; the statue of limitations is up.
I got a couple of free lunches from record promo guys, but that’s about it. Look, by the time I got into industry the playlists were very tight and determined by the programming department. I never got to just pick my own music. In some cases I would go on the air and my entire show’s song selection would be pre-determined. I just went down the list. That’s why it was always a joke when we asked the listeners to call in requests. Our playlists were pre-set.
So there was no point in giving me payola. It’s like the old joke about the wannabe actress who was so stupid she tried to get ahead in show business by sleeping with writers.
I imagine music directors and national program directors were approached with payola and a few partook, but I never saw it on my level. And everyone was doing coke so who knows where they got it?
I got into radio way too late for any real fun. In the late ‘50s/early ‘60s record companies used to sponsor “Disc Jockey Conventions.” They’d invite a ton of top DJ’s to a Miami Beach hotel and there would be non-stop booze, drugs, and hookers for four days. I think they even paid for room service.
And finally, from Richard Y:
I had mentioned 'Nash Bridges' to you earlier and you indicated that you had not watched it. That got me to wondering. Since you were deeply working on 'Frasier' during the time Nash Bridges was airing, how much episodic TV are writers able to actually watch while they are working on their own show?
What’s your FQ? Leave it in the comments section. Thanks. Now bring on Spring Training!