Hello from Hatboro, Pa. Going tonight and tomorrow to see a production of my play, A OR B? Come join me. If you’re anywhere east of St. Louis you have no excuse. ‘Meantime, here are Friday Questions.
Andy Rose starts us off:
I've read that Gary Burghoff preferred not to have his left hand seen on camera because of a slight deformity. Did you ever have to rewrite or toss an idea for a Radar scene because you thought, "There's no way we can make that work without seeing his hand"? Or did you just leave it up to Gary and the director to figure out a way to work around it?
We left it up to Gary and the director. We were sensitive to the issue and didn’t ask him to do anything that might have been problematic, but primarily we left it up to the stage. Gary covered it beautifully, didn't he? Bet you watched for years not knowing.
MikeN is next.
Ken, are you going to try to cash in on the 1.5 million that the State Department is offering for a TV series to combat terrorism?
Yes. I’m calling it HOMELAND. Where's my money?
An Anonymous person (please leave a name) asked:
Ken - Do you have any memories of this, from when St.Elsewhere filmed on Cheers' set? So odd seeing Cheers characters without a laugh track. Did Cheers' writers provide Carla or Cliff's lines, or have approvals?
First off, here’s the video:
This question had been asked before and I was able to get John Masius, who wrote that episode of ST. ELSEWHERE to answer. Here is what John had to say. Again, my thanks to him for sharing the inside story with all of us.
how st.elsewhere came to cheers: a revisionist history
tom fontana, john tinker and i wrote the episode..bruce paltrow directed it..
the episode had three story arcs..westphal dealing with his autistic son,
craig coping with his mentor's alzheimer disease and auschlander coming to
grips with his own mortality..
we thought it would be fun to write a scene where the three friends met for a drink after work..something we had never done...and obliquely share their concerns and fears...so we thought why not the cheers bar? tartkoff loved the idea, paltow called his old friend burrows and they hashed the production constraints...one day to shoot during a cheers hiatus week...perleman and ratzenberger graciously signed on..
i wanted the coach behind the bar but he was dead...so creatively we decided to go for it and wrote essentially a one-act play that was the entire third act of the episode..due to the constraints of the three-camera set we shot pretty much in one direction..blew through 15 pages,twice our normal load in one day...
i remember it being a great fun day..the show turned out well...it was picked to be aired at our 20th anniversary event held at the paley museum of t.v. and beer-drinking...
the only negative feedback was from the charles bros who didn't like the dialogue we wrote
for carla and cliff...however their bastard step-brother ed charles, utility infielder extroidinaire for the '69 mets, was a big fan of the episode..
From Mr. Ace:
How detailed and how long should an outline be?
Ours were about fifteen pages and rather detailed. Every show had its own format. This was the CHEERS format. It allowed lots of room for scrawling notes. Here are two pages of a CHEERS outline to give you some idea.
i could be a bob rounds it out.
How about some great movies you've seen but could never watch again? I've got a couple of those.
Those would tend to be dramas that were very powerful but once is enough. I’m sure there are many but off the top of my head, DELIVERANCE (I’ll never go camping), MUNICH, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, THE EXORCIST, ROSEMARY’S BABY, MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, THE MEN, 2001, BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and THE WEDDING SINGER.
What’s your Friday Question?