Friday, March 09, 2018

Friday Questions

Hello from Gotham. Here are this week’s Friday Questions.

Albert Giesbrecht starts us off:

Ken! I didn't know you directed Dharma & Greg! Was Jenna Elfman as nice and friendly, as Dharma was on the show?

Absolutely. I first knew Jenna from our mid-90’s show, ALMOST PERFECT. I think we gave her one of her first jobs. She guested as an daffy secretary and was hilarious. You could tell right away that she was special.

And she fit in right away. After the filming we all went out to a karaoke bar. Jenna joined us. I was thrilled that her career took off. She’s as nice as she is talented, and I would work with her again in a second.

From Bill in Toronto:

Ken, from any of your careers, can you give an example or two of times anyone on the production really rose to the challenge and performed in a standout way you’d like to recognize here?

Yes. Frankie Bellina, our propmaster on CHEERS. You have no idea what a difficult assignment he had. Think of all the glasses on all the tables. And the bowls. And from scene to scene they changed and all had to match. How he kept it all straight I will never know.

Plus, CHEERS was filmed in front of a live audience. It’s not like he had a half-hour between scenes. He was a dervish.

Also, I want to heap praise on Larina Adamson. She was our line producer on two series and three pilots. Without a doubt the best in the business. She was a magician. Any stupid thing we wanted she made happen… and within budget.

So often you will ask your line producer for something and they’ll tell you it can’t be done or there’s no money in the budget for it. Not Larina. I think she was part Genie.

These are just two of many many spectacular crew members I had the honor of working with.

Curt Alliaume asks:

Who are some of your favorite baseball announcers now working?

I’ll just stick to radio for this round.

Jon Miller & Dave Flemming from the Giants. Ted Leitner of the Padres. Eric Nadel of the Rangers. Tom Hamilton of the Indians. National Treasure Bob Uecker of the Brew Crew, Pat Hughes of the Cubs, Howie Rose & Josh Lewin of the Mets, Andy Freed & Dave Wills of the Rays, Marty Brenneman of the Reds, Jim Powell of the Braves, Steve Physioc, Ryan Lefebvre, and Steve Stewart of the Royals, and I’m sure I’m leaving someone out.

And finally, from Jahn Ghalt:

When you do reshoots that are from last week's show, are they in front of an audience?

If so, do you do them before the scheduled show? Do you let the audience "in" on the circumstance?

Most of the time they’re not in front of the audience. They’ll be filmed either the day before during camera blocking or after the audience has been released.

Sometimes though, if it’s a long scene, or a scene we felt would really benefit by having an audience we will have the warm-up person set up the situation.

But a lot will depend on actual show to be filmed that week. If it’s complicated and we know will be a long night we won't subject a tired audience to another scene. However, if it’s a simple show that should take only a couple of hours to film we may sneak in that additional scene.

I’m in New York to see my one-act play, THE HOOK UP being performed as part of ANDTheatre’s Annual 10-minute Play Festival at Theatre 54. I will be attending tonight and tomorrow night’s performance. If you’re around, swing by and say hello. Here’s info. Thanks.


Terrence Moss said...

it's a shame that tv hasn't found a suitable post-Dharma vehicle for her - though "accidentally on purpose" should have been given a better shot at success.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Break a leg Ken. Wish I could be there but I'm going to BeatleFest. You should come tomorrow!

Michael said...

Ken, the beauty of your list of favorite baseball announcers is the diversity of it. There are homers and those who play it down the middle, those who try to be funny (and succeed) and those who play it straight.

And the fact that Vin is not on that list any more remains painful, though I'm glad he's enjoying retirement.

Bugdun said...

So glad you did not include John Sterling in your list of baseball announcers. Enough is enough, already. He is simply horrible. We are talking about New York City here! They could attract the absolute best. Why don't the Yankees "promote" him (and Suzyn Waldmann) to some kind of ceremonial post where he handles Old Timers Day (like they did with Mel Allen), and put some fresh young talent in the booth??

Charles H. Bryan said...

This has nothing to do with anything, but I found out that MLB Gameday Online Audio no longer maintains an audio archive. I used to be able to go back a season or two if I wanted, just to listen to Vin Scully if I needed to.

Weirdly, it looks like Tune In Premium has an archive. Nothing makes sense anymore.

Xenu said...

I have no doubt you had a very pleasant experience working with Jenna Elfman, but she shows a very different and particularly nasty side if Scientology is ridiculed. These two accounts reveal the Scientology Jenna Elfman.

I'll understand if you choose not to publish this comment, but please do read the articles.

Dave Wrighteous said...

Ken, I live in Wilmington, DE, so my "hometown team" is the Phillies. Their radio broadcast team is Scott Franske and Larry Anderson. If you haven't heard them, check them out; they are a PANIC! They call a great game and it's hilarious at the same time. The Abbott and Costello of sports broadcasting.

Chris said...

Jenna who???

Johnny Hy said...

Jim Powell for the Braves is fantastic! He and Don Sutton have a great chemistry together. He is very funny but extremely knowledgeable. We are fortunate to have him. I just wish he would take over the TV broadcast.

VP81955 said...

Good, but they're no Kalas and Ashburn.

Gotta put in a good word for the Nationals' Charlie Slowes and Dave Jagelar. And Ken, I'm surprised you omitted Charley Steiner, who's no Scully but calls a good game with a droll sense of humor.

Faith said...

Hi Ken,

My first Friday Question:

I read that George Clooney is gonna get the AFI Life Achievement award this year. Why hasn't Denzel Washington been chosen till date? I cant understand at all. He deserves it far more than many of the recent awardees. And certainly way better actor with wider range and greater accomplishments than Clooney.

Can you please give your insight.


gottacook said...

Chris: Jenna was the female lead in Joe Dante's Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003).

Rashad Khan said...

Possible Friday Question: In the past, you have talked about different writers -- Bob Ellison, Jerry Belson, etc. -- who were adept at delivering great jokes for scripts that needed "punching-up," for lack of a better word. Can you recall offhand any writers (whom you have worked with, of course) whose expertise lay more in breaking stories and/or spotting and fixing places where the story or scene might have been weak?

Ted said...

Question - A lot of articles are calling Golden Globes a far better managed awards show than Oscars. Their arguments are based on bringing the stars to grab the eyeballs and keeping the show short and funny, and cutting off other "useless category" awards.

I know you hate Golden Globes, but do you also think that NOW, Globes are better than Oscars?

Mike Bloodworth said...

This is not necessarily a FRIDAY QUESTION. Think of it as an addendum to yesterday's blog. In the days before Google and Wikipedia how did you deal with all the research needed for any given script? Did studios have a reference library? Did you hang out in the PUBLIC library reading the Encyclopedia Britannica? (Or the 24 volume, Grolier Encyclopedia? {Another obscure reference.}) I'd love to know.

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

Grolier Encyclopedia? Thank you, Don Pardo.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Faith, asked about the Clooney AFI award, and suggested that Denzel deserves it more.
Certainly, if you go by bigger box of office draw, it's Denzel.
In the last ten years, even if you include Gravity and Oceans 13, Denzel's movies have made more money on average.

Edward said...

***Friday Question***

You were associated with three television series that lasted 11 seasons. There was cast turnover on MASH and Cheers. What about Frasier? Was there any contemplated turnover that has not been discussed? Any drama with that show?

ScarletNumber said...

@Terrence Moss

Accidentally on Purpose had such an offensively awful premise that it didn't stand a chance. Sort of like Emily's Reasons Why Not.

MikeKPa. said...

Check out Scott Franzke, who does radio play-by-play for the Phillies. Has a great sense of humor, very dry, and makes it a treat to listen, especially during bad games. Nobody was better than the late Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn. Ashburn would often successfully get playful double entendres through while recounting stories from his playing days. To wit, during a game the Phillies were losing badly Kalas asked Ashburn if he had an superstitions as a player. Ashburn said if he was hitting really well, he would take his bat to bed. Kalas couldn't believe it. Ashburn said, "Yeah, I slept with a lot of old bats in my day." Priceless.

Dana Gabbard said...

Lillian Michelson had a research libray everyone used back in the day which was described in the documentary Harold and Lillian a Hollywood Love Story which ran on TCM last year.

Diane D. said...

I couldn’t agree with you more. However, your comment prompted me to look up past recipients and those who have been overlooked, and I am no longer surprised. It appears almost random when perusing those lists—-very disappointing. The much maligned Golden Globes can at least boast of having honored that extraordinary actor with a lifetime achievement award.

VP81955 said...

And at least the Globes, like the Emmys, give comedy some recognition. The Oscars largely ignore it.

Diane D. said...

Indeed, VP81955—very annoying.

Fred C said...

No love for Mariners Rick Rizz .... my oh my ...

Kirby said...

Friday Question:
I recently saw a "Wings" episode where David Schramm appeared in the background but had no lines. I seem to recall a similar situation on "Cheers," where Kelsey Grammer could be seen sitting at the bar, but Frasier didn't speak the entire episode. In these instances, would the characters have had lines that were cut during editing? Or are there occasions where there isn't room for a main character to speak, but the actor is called in anyway just to be present in the background?

Bob Paris said...

Please consider this for a future Friday Question:

I felt that FRIENDS was running out of steam at the end of its run. When the spin-off JOEY was announced, I thought if I were Matt LeBlanc I would agree to do the show with Kauffman & Crane as show-runners but replace most of the others with the creative staff of FRASIER, that was also ending its run that season. Can you contribute your 20/20 perspective on writer's burn-out with the same characters year after year and if you think this may have helped avoid the creative fiasco that JOEY became.

Bob Paris

Steve said...

For next Friday Questions:

'm not a writer, nor to I aspire to be (I couldn't produce at that rate). However I've developed a good story idea for Curb Your Enthusiasm. I've run it by a few fans of CYE, and they think it's brilliant and would go over very well in the show.

So, my question: how can I find an established script writer who could take my story idea and get it submitted? Where would one start on that kind of thing?

Love the blog, several friends of mine and I find it utterly fascinating.


MJB said...

Hi Ken, here is a possible Friday question.

I'm curious to know if you follow/watch the latest British sitcoms?

It's quite strong at the moment. The best four are: This Country, People Just Do Nothing, Motherland and Mum.

Thanks for your time.
Mike Bailey

Bryan Thomas said...

Friday question — You talked about working with Jenna Elfman when you directed Dharma and Greg. How about Thomas Gibson? He has a bit of a rep now but how was he to work with?