Monday, July 01, 2019

Misc.- Takes

In no order of importance…

I’m guessing the current WGA battle with the ATA (talent agencies) will ultimately be resolved in the courts. It won’t get to the Supreme Court because, as of this year, it no longer exists.

FIVE GUYS over IN N’ OUT. And since you can get free peanuts at FIVE GUYS, why bother ordering fries?

Next week my podcast guest will be director, Jim Burrows (pictured above with me). It’s a two-part interview, and he was GREAT. We talk about the process of directing, the popularity of FRIENDS, tales of directing that pilot, stories about CHEERS and WILL & GRACE, and directing the recent live reboot of ALL IN THE FAMILY/JEFFERSONS. So stay tuned. It’s coming soon.

Jim Burrows directed 44 episodes that David Isaacs and I wrote.  Including one that we acted in.  Only the great Jim Burrows could get a good performance out of me.  (This was for a show called THE MARSHALL CHRONICLES and not only did I have to deliver a joke, I had to deliver it while walking.   And yes, I got my laugh.  Thank you, Jimmy.

I forgot to ask whether he’s still getting residuals for THE TONY RANDALL SHOW we did together in 1976. I’m not.

My favorite internet oldies station, Richbroradio.com was off the air a couple of days while Rich Brother Robbin was moving.  But it's back up and you can hear it here.  If you like oldies from the '50s-'70s this is the site for you.  Bookmark it. Not just the same 100 songs.  Rich has a deep playlist -- songs you might have forgotten but go "oh wow!" when you hear them.  And what better time to cruise around digging feel-good music than the summertime? 

Kevin Durant remains a highly sought-after free agent even though he can’t play next year due to injuries.  Imagine the money he'd get if he could play. 

Proud to say I had a play in the Stonewall Festival in Buffalo this last month. Thanks to Donna Hoke for putting together such a great line-up of plays celebrating LGBTQ.

The New York Mets are the New Coke of baseball.  The Mets are bringing back 1962 more than Richbroradio.com is.

Network shows go back into production very soon. A single-camera sitcom will film from July to April to produce 22 episodes. On MASH we shot 25 episodes from the 4th of July to just before Christmas. And that included all the complicated exterior scenes done at the Malibu Ranch.

Could Neil Simon get a comedy play on Broadway today?

Durant and Kawhi Leonard could wind up on the same team. Possibilities include the Knicks and Clippers. Both teams know that Durant is out for the year, right? That may seem like a silly question but these are the Knicks and Clippers.

The Yankees and Red Sox first inning in London on Saturday – between them they scored 12 runs. Final score:  Yankees 17, Boston 13.   What a joke.

The Yankees won the second game 12-8.  That one was a real pitching duel.  

My favorite character on HBO’s BARRY: Anthony Carrigan as NoHoHank. Hilarious and completely original.

How come the Kansas City Royals weren't invited to play in London? 

What was wrong with the format of the old TO TELL THE TRUTH? Y’know, back when it was GOOD.

I have two ten-minute plays this month at the Brisk Festival in LA.  Here's the info.  If you come to one, say hi.  

Saw a recent episode of JEOPARDY where the contestants were all in their 30’s or early 40’s. They had to identify a certain actor – Robert Redford. None of them even rang in. Seriously? Robert Redford? You JEOPARDY contestants know the names of Nairobi mountaintops and the all the names of President Chester A. Arthur’s cabinet, but you’ve never once seen BUTCH CASSIDY or ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN or THE STING?

At this point I was going to mention that Jim Burrows’ father was Abe Burrows, but if folks don’t know who Robert Redford is, what are the chances they’ll be familiar with Abe Burrows? He was a Broadway legend who, among other things, wrote GUYS & DOLLS. (Gee, I wonder how many people have heard of GUYS & DOLLS?)

I want to go to Star Wars Land in Disneyland but I’ll wait for the initial crowds to die down. So I’ll see it in 2030.

The Red Sox flew to London on a luxurious private jet.  For the trip home they probably flew commercial -- steerage with a stop in Johannesburg.  

The second Democratic Debate was seen by over18 million people. Some are saying that’s a paltry amount, but those same people thought 18 million viewers for THE BIG BANG THEORY was a big number.

CNN premieres its new documentary series on movies this month. I was one of the people interviewed. Let’s see if I make the cut. I didn’t tell them I co-wrote MANNEQUIN 2.

They did use me on the ‘70s, ‘80s,’90s, and ‘00s during the television segments. And thankfully, they replay those on CNN often. I was on again last night.  I’m thrilled, not for the exposure. But when you’re seeing me on CNN it’s an hour you’re not seeing Trump.

The 4th of July holiday weekend begins Thursday except in Hollywood where it began last Thursday.

You have my permission to start yours now.  

47 comments :

E. Yarber said...

To be fair, if the Redford question was "Who DIDN'T write ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN?" there was some leeway for other choices like Leo Tolstoy, Madame Curie or Genghis Khan.

And just to connect a few more dots, Abe Burrows got the job rewriting GUYS AND DOLLS because of his similarly stylized dialogue for DUFFY'S TAVERN, which was the illegitimate grandfather of CHEERS.

Unknown said...

Speaking of the Mets, Happy Bobby Bonilla Day!

Curt Alliaume said...

I haven't watched the latest version of To Tell the Truth very much, but my understanding is they're trying to get more laughs, even if it means the game has to be sacrificed.

Could be worse. I was told in the first season, one spot had the central character lying about something - which was an absolute no-no back in the day. (In one episode, Garry Moore turned his back to the three contestants and told the panel, "As you know, the central character is sworn to tell the truth at all times" - which was a way to let the central character know the producers noted he or she had lied, and to cut it out unless that person didn't want to share in the prize winnings.)

slgc said...

"(Gee, I wonder how many people have heard of GUYS & DOLLS?)"

Anyone who has ever done musical theater in middle school or high school or who has a kid who has ever done musical theater in middle school or high school has seen Guys and Dolls. Many, many times....

Michael Hagerty said...


Five Guys over In-N-Out. Maybe, but it'll cost you. Roughly double. A burger, fries and a Coke at In-N-Out is seven bucks. At In-N-Out, 12. At that point, seven more gets you a #19 at Langer's, and I know which I'd rather have.

Toledo said...

You order the fries at Five Guys because the fries are great!

DwWashburn said...

I agree with your comments about the London series. MLB needs to stop this man crush they have on the Yankees and Red Sox. There ARE 28 other teams but these two seem to be the only ones you ever see on MLB network.

And concerning Saturday's game -- This was England's first look at live professional baseball and what happens? I've attended Little League games where the teams scored fewer runs in the first inning than that disaster.

I have to disagree on To Tell the Truth. I have liked the show since the 50s (especially with Bud Collyer and Polly Bergen) and the "changes" in the 2010's version does not distract. I like that the panelists can ask questions anytime. I'm glad they got rid of tweet lie for the losing panelist. I guess the only thing I don't like about it is Anderson's mom. Still don't know why she's there.

Glenn said...

Ken, do you think baseball will ever take in London? I can't see it happening, and I'm not sure why they sent the Sox and Yankees over there. The games were awful.

Anonymous said...

NoHoHank is the best.5 Guys not so much. They throw all your food in a bag like garbage. Sorry. Happy 4th. Janice B.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Since today's blog is all about miscellaneous topics, here are a few of my own.

Considering how many people in my neighborhood have been shooting off illegal fireworks, the 4th of July started June 1st.
This is how old I am. When I was a kid I played with firecrackers, bottle-rockets, etc. But now I'm saying to myself, "What the hell is wrong with these people?!"

California's new gas tax starts this week. I voted for its repeal. It won't be too long before the gov't squanders all the money and asks for more. Is it any wonder why so many people are fleeing this state?
BTW, Gas at the Carson City, NV Costco, $2.99 a gallon.

The labor dispute I'm most concerned with is the grocery workers. I won't cross a picket line, yet there's no f-ing way I'm going to shop at Whole Foods or Aldi.

I should have stocked up on ammo when I had the chance.

I clicked the link to the "Brisk Festival." (Sponsored by Lipton ice tea?) Their website was giving me too much trouble. But, I've already seen many of your plays. Regardless, I hope they are successful.

As I'm writing this I saw on the news that the SONY WALKMAN debuted FORTY YEARS AGO!!
I am so old.

Even if one is a anti-Trump republican, the democrats haven't presented any appealing reasons to switch.

Finally, In this day and age we may have to tolerate certain things. We may even have to accept them. Yet, we shouldn't be forced to celebrate them.
You wouldn't want to be made to wear a M.A.G.A. hat if you visited a "red" state.
M.B.

blinky said...

Old friends are the best friends because they get your obscure references. On CNBC a host, Wilfred Frost, is the son of David Frost. I mentioned to someone at work that David Frosts first show in America was That Was The Week That Was, also called TW3. It was essentially The Daily Show in 1965. NOBODY knew what I was talking about. I had to call my old friend who was in Social Studies with me that year to get a confirmation of my sanity.
Looking in IMBD I see Buck Henry and Woody Allen did some writing on it and Alan Alda, Mike Nichols and Elaine May were on it.

Karan G said...

Looking forward to the Jim Burrows podcast. I enjoyed the rapid fire nature of today's entry. That's kinda how my brain works....changing topics quickly. Great blog entry!

Peter said...

A coincidence you mention James Burrows. I was just reading his Wikipedia yesterday. I was curious as to why he's never directed a film. To my surprise, I read that he did direct a film in the 80s called Partners. I must admit I've never heard of it.

Did he have a bad experience making it? There must be a reason he preferred to do TV.

Dan Reese said...

For what it’s worth, crowd levels have been really low in Disneyland since Galaxy’s Edge opened to the general public with no reservations needed. Nobody seems sure if it’s because some annual passholders are still blocked out or if people are staying away because they were scared off expecting massive crowds or if people are waiting for the 2nd big ride to open or if maybe it’s just not going to be as overwhelmingly popular as everybody thought.

gottacook said...

In-n-Out, the one time I've been there (in Santa Maria, a year and a half ago) was very enjoyable, with tasty food and friendly staff - whereas Five Guys, which originated near where I live, is much costlier and not a pleasant place to eat if you don't care for peanuts. What I do enjoy more than either of them is Habit Burger, the California-based chain that now has a small number of east coast locations.

Craig Russll said...

Hey Ken...do you get paid to do those interview clips on the CNN shows? Enough to make a house payment, or buy lunch at the CNN Commissary?

thomas tucker said...

1. I agree- Five Guys is better. In-N- Out is very overrated.
2. Guys and Dolls is my favorite show. Last year, I saw the same production 3 times.
3. I tried watching Barefoot in the Park last night. Not funny at all. And people don't talk that way. I hate to say it, but I think Simon is overrated too.
4. btw- new romcom movie just came out and I saw it this weekend- Yesterday. Very good!

Kevin said...

Did Jimmy Burrows have you take a sip of coffee after your punchline? I think that happens in everything directed by him.

Also, your post today included one of my big pet peeves... the "no closing parenthesis."

(This was for a show called THE MARSHALL CHRONICLES and not only did I have to deliver a joke, I had to deliver it while walking. And yes, I got my laugh. Thank you, Jimmy.

Gahhhh!!

Michael said...

I have watched the recent reboots of To Tell The Truth ... for one minute each. That was enough. Give me Garry Moore and, as he called it, "the firm of Carlisle, Cass, and Cullen." And Cass rhymed with class, which that show had, and it was fun and funny without straining, which is what these others do.

Abe Burrows used to appear as a quiz show panelist, by the way.

And as for the young Jeopardy players, Alex Trebek once told an interviewer that he can get about three quarters of the questions right, but his biggest problem was that he didn't have the speed and coordination for the buzzer. Once, Ed Bradley did a profile on 60 Minutes and the two of them played, and Bradley couldn't both hit the button AND give the answer. There's a reason so many of the winners are younger. But ... Robert Redford? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts about the Yankees-Red Sox game. First, I had to listen to the analysts talk and talk about how bad the center field background was for the hitters and how difficult it was to hit due to the web of shadows cast onto the field by ironwork along the top of the stadium. The result? 50 runs in two games.

Second, thank God there was some offense. When you're trying to create interest in baseball in a new market, the last thing you want is a pitchers' duel.

And while I'm at it--dump your son for being a Bosox fan. What kind of terrible parent were you?

And--as both a hardcore baseball fan and the son a media time salesman, what do you think of these 7-second commercials inserted intra-inning? Every intentional walk and 4-seam fastball is already sponsored by somebody. Is it just Arte Moreno or are other teams doing it, too?

zapatty said...

Happy Canada Day !!

Jeff Boice said...

I noticed on Twitter some supposed sports gaming expert told people to bet the under on the Yankees-Sox game- because of the huge foul territory at the London Stadium. It was 6-6 after a 50 minute long first inning. I thought they were playing cricket to try to win over the fans.

Reminds me that when the Mariners started up in 1977, the owners figured the Kingdome would be a pitcher's ballpark just like the Astrodome. So they designed the team for speed and defense, not power. Well, that was their excuse.

Anonymous said...

@blinky
If you are going to talk about TW3 on this blog, Millicent Martin is an absolute reference
For some weeks i didn't realize she was the same person 9if you know what i mean)

Brian Drake said...

Who not only remembers "Guys & Dolls" but also knows the Damon Runyan short stories the show is based on?

Buttermilk Sky said...

I don't know about Neil Simon, but if I recall correctly, Arthur Miller's last play had its premiere in Chicago because no Broadway producer was interested. Yeah, Broadway is overrated.

Maybe the Red Sox and Yankees thought they had been flown to London for a series of exhibition games. The stadium appeared to be full, so this will happen again.

Considering the election is almost eighteen months away, I think 18 million viewers is pretty damn impressive.

In the South, everything is celebrated with fireworks, including Christmas and New Year. So far, it's been quiet...too quiet...

Todd Everett said...

Larry King called: he wants his column back.

Tudor Queen said...

Oh, the sadness! I am afraid that Neil Simon would have trouble getting a play on Broadway in today's cultural and financial climate. Which means that whoever might have been deeply influenced by his wit, his affection for his characters, and his exceptional command of story and structure, but most of all, the fact that his plays make people LAUGH, is also having a hard time today.

More sadness with your Robert Redford story. I'm a history instructor at a local college and discovered early on that many of my students over the last ten-twelve years had never read Hemingway (some had never heard of him), never saw the film "Casablanca" (and other classics that were part of our common culture), and the younger students often had no idea of what Watergate was, I do what I can, but we have become a fast-food society in more ways than just who goes to Five Guys, etc.

Loved the original "To Tell The Truth" and agree with you that the regular panelists were all class and charm. And they had fascinating 'guests'. I haven't tried the reboot yet and probably won't.

BTW, I really enjoy your 'random thought' columns. This one was no exception.

CRL said...

Robert Redford?

Isn't he that old guy in the Captain America movie?

Tim B. said...

Surely they're familiar with Robert Redford from Captain America and Endgame, right?

sanford said...

I have eaten a couple of times at In and Out. I was not impressed. I have had better burgers at bars. I am really bad at remembering names. But we ate at a place in Minneapolis whose name I can't remember. It opened in the 30's and is on France Ave. Maybe if there is some one from Minneapolis they would know the name. Great burgers and fries. Great Milk shakes.

I do listen to Rich Bro radios. Some of the 50's songs I have no memory of and I am 72. I also use the App Radio Tunes. They have 3 oldies stations. 60's, Classic Rock and Oldies. Nothing from the 50's. But the 60s stations are pretty good, if Rich Bro Radio ever goes down again. You can also access by computer.

therealshell said...

Still wondering why some ANONYMOUS posters leave their names ? It's tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot.

Patrick Wahl said...

Durant signed a 4 year deal with the Nets for $164 million. So they are paying him $41 million next year just to rehab. Salaries really got nuts in a hurry.

Janet said...

It's amazing how classy the original was vs this new TO TELL THE TRUTH, which is just silly.

I prefer the original.

Tom Galloway said...

These days I suspect That Was The Week That Was is best remembered for the songs Tom Lehrer wrote for it, collected with their original lyrics and sung by Lehrer on That Was The Year That Was (Lehrer never appeared on the show, and word is the show performed versions had their lyrics altered).

The time period to make a season, er, series, of a show that I don't understand is the BBC's Doctor Who. 10-12 hour long episodes per season that apparently take at least a year to make; no new shows in 2019 and they've only had one year with the current Doctor and showrunner so they apparently built up time debt fast.

Re: Five Guys vs. In'n'Out. Write in vote for Fatburger here.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of misc.
You have spoken of your start/collaboration during your time in military/National Guard. How many others started in same environment? I can think of Dean Hargrove ( how long was he in the business?) from Biloxi Blues one gets the impression that your hero, and mine, Neil Simon did as well. Rodenberry and his partner started in LAPD, which at the time was almost a military. I am questioning of those who made a career out of writing/ directing not those who did a limited engagement and moved on.
Also actors would be outside my question since there were so many. Though the actors started as a rule after they left the military.

DBA said...

Ken, go to Disneyland ASAP. Crowds have been nonexistent since Star Wars land opened. Disney is offering panic discount tickets. It's the emptiest it's been in years, but it won't last since marketing is now in overdrive to fix it.

gottacook said...

sanford - You're thinking of the Convention Grill, near France Ave. in south Minneapolis (I lived in the twin cities for 11 years). The food is ideal for what it is - truly old-fashioned, heavy and dense - so much so that I would only go there once or twice a year.

E. Yarber said...

As long as we're approaching the Fourth, it might be worth a moment to recall a few writers who served in the military before beginning their careers. This is just off the top of my head.

I'll set aside Mark Twain's brief half-assed Civil War militia duty, though it jump-started his career by forcing him to flee Missouri and begin writing in the West. Dashiell Hammett is buried at Arlington. Robert Graves wrote of his WWI experiences in GOOD-BYE TO ALL THAT. Raoul Walsh was an actor but didn't direct until after he served in the first World War. World War II resulted in novels about the conflict from former soldiers Norman Mailer, Irwin Shaw, Gore Vidal, James Jones, Herman Wouk, Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut. Sam Fuller survived more than one beachhead, while Sam Peckinpah was a Marine in China during the postwar period. If you include underground partisans against the Axis, you can add Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Primo Levi. Robert Stone was in the Navy during the 50s and Tim O'Brien wrote of his Vietnam nightmare in THE THINGS THEY CARRIED.

Of course, of all these only Walsh, Peckinpah and Fuller went on to film as their direct medium. Blame me for being literary. At least I didn't drag in Thucydides, Xenophon, Caesar and Tacitus.

BluePedal said...

It's that time of the year again when mannequin's across this great nation of ours get their hands blown off by fireworks. I don't get local fire departments and their blood-lust for maiming mannequins. Watermelons too suffer at the hands of these maniacs.

I love the fireworks safety demonstrations every year. The only thing about fireworks I like anymore.

Anonymous said...

1. Neil Simon died almost a year ago, but it seems like 20.
For those who wonder if he could get a new play produced on Broadway today,
as someone who sat in the audience for his 45 Seconds from Broadway,
the question is, how was he able to get a play on Broadway in 2001?
2. Show biz/cultural ignorance is not confined to the young’uns.
Many podcast chat shows fronted by the never-weres and once-wases are rife with
errors and poor research, and are virtually devoid of post-episode corrections.
Marc Maron (a better guitarist than comedian) is hardly a Dick Cavett when it comes to prep work
e.g he entered his Alan Alda talk without knowing much who Robert Alda even was.
And Gilbert Gottfried (a better impressionist than a guitarist) is- unless it involves his own career-
virtually lost without his co-host.

Anthony Adams said...

WOW I did not know Jim Burrows was a Abe Burrows son That is so cool

MikeN said...

How could they not recognize Robert Redford? He was in Captain America, the Winter Soldier!

Tim Dunleavy said...

Re the Jeopardy contestants not knowing Robert Redford:

Last week, during one of the semifinal games of the Teen Tournament, one of the categories in the first round was "Hitmakers."

The contestants were shown a photo of a young Mick Jagger and Keith Richards circa 1965. The clue was: "Here's this singer & pal Keith Richards when they were barely out of their teens."

None of the contestants rang in.

The studio audience groaned.

Yeah, they're teenagers, but...

Curt Alliaume said...

Five Guys vs. In n' Out - We don't have the latter here, so there's no competition, and my wife and I really like Five Guys. That said, I have a few friends with major nut allergies, so they can't get anything from Five Guys. Ever.

The Mets are killing me. I've been a fan for almost 50 years (started in 1971), and this year has been almost as embarrassing as the dreaded 1993 season (59-103 records, Bret Saberhagen soaks reporters with bleach, Vince Coleman tosses firecracker at fans).

Anonymous said...

Ken
I think this article speaks to several of your themes of writers getting shoved aside and having their ideas credited to others ( star and director) plus soup├žon of misogny

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2019/jul/02/writers-claim-being-excluded-after-creating-idris-elbas-play

Hope
a) you get time to see this
and
b) give your reaction

Mahalo

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

Sorry, but I don't consider being unable to identify the Stones a tragedy.

I pity the teenage contestants if they're unfamiliar with Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, Henry Mancini, Antonio Carlos Jobim, etc.

Craig Gustafson said...

Who doesn't know Abe Burrows, composer/lyricist of "The Girl with the Three Blue Eyes"?

From Brian Drake: "Who not only remembers "Guys & Dolls" but also knows the Damon Runyan short stories the show is based on?"

It's "Runyon." Damon Runyon is my favorite writer of comic short stories.
I was going to say "my favorite writer of short stories," period; then I remembered Dashiell Hammett.

Now find me somebody else who has read the works of Thorne Smith. (Not Courtney Thorne-Smith.)