Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday Questions

It’s Friday Question Day. And Natalie Wood's birthday.  She would have been 80.  Happy Birthday, Natalie!

DARON72 is up first.

You wrote a few episodes of "Open All Night" which was based on the British series "Open All Hours." Have you seen the 2016 sequel series "Still Open All Hours" and do you think a show with a format like that would work today?

I’ve never even seen the original British series. I didn’t know there was a British series. So… no.

Sure the show could work today. It’s a fun workplace setting that you could populate with colorful characters.

Although, the best comedy about a convenience store for my money is Kevin Smith’s movie, CLERKS.

From Carson:

I notice that HULU now has all 11 seasons of M*A*S*H. By the way, it's in 16x9 HD and it looks great. I was wondering, do you get residuals off of this? I don't care to know how much, I'm just curious if you still get some type of compensation or if things in the 70s were just structured much differently.

I am supposed to get something but I don’t know the formula and so far I haven’t received much if anything from streaming platforms.

I still do receive residuals from syndication and cable, and since MASH is now on three or four cable channels and numerous broadcast channels I continue to see some compensation. Not a lot, but hey, it’s something.

I’m also thrilled that episodes I wrote decades ago are still being seen and enjoyed.

Dhruv has a question after reading my post on Pepe Le Pew.

Since today's blog is about cartoons, thought I would ask the question I wanted to ask for a long time.

Why do many people in Hollywood hate Disney?

Family guy makes a whole lot of parody about them and none of them paints them good.

Oscar hosts like Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg too made fun of them in their monologues. Billy about Walt and Whoopi about Euro Disney.

This is just a guess on my part. But it’s because Disney is the establishment. And wildly successful.

The criticism is like people throwing rocks at the palace wall.

Also, Disney has a very clear image. And it’s easy to make fun of that image.

But Disney is still the gold standard when it comes to animation (especially with Pixar now in the fold).

I think the palace walls will stand.

And finally, Nancy wonders:

I am binge watching "Entourage". Is this anywhere near the real Hollywood? The abusive agent, over the top lifestyle, the girls throwing themselves at the stars and other excesses showcased in the series.

The abusive agent is real for sure. He was my agent for eleven minutes.  I believe the series was loosely modeled on Mark Wahlberg’s rise to fame. Mark was also one of the show’s executive producers.

I would hope the lifestyle excess is an exaggeration (although it probably isn’t). Surrounding yourself with toadies is certainly real.

The women throwing themselves at these people, that unfortunately I would have no way of knowing. All I can say is it has not happened to me. And I keep waiting.

And waiting.

What’s your Friday Question?


Jim S said...

Friday question time Ken.

Yesterday's podcast about casting was very interesting and not at all stupid. (10 points to anyone who gets that feeble joke).

You talked about getting the right actor, which got me thinking.

When you can't cast a part do you ever think it's because you can't just find the right actor, or do ever think if you can't cast a part maybe it's because the writing just isn't there yet?


Keep up the good work.

Dhruv said...

Thanks for the answer Ken :)

E. Yarber said...

A while back, a friend from Romania who obviously never met me in person insisted that I watch CALIFORNICATION, since she was sure it was an accurate representation of my lifestyle as a writer in LA.

Muting my horrified response, I assured her instead that three people had independently demanded that I see Duchovny in THE X-FILES, where he played a unnatural obsessive workaholic with no personal life or even a bed. (One even sent me a script from the show to underline the parallels).

Happily, I have mellowed in the years since and my presence now consistently reminds people of Buster Bluth, although that may simply be the hook hand.

Dhruv said...

After asking that question I realized something. Disney now owns Fox, who in turn own Family Guy.

Seth says he is not bothered, but I guess no more Disney jokes on Family Guy :)

Nancy said...

Today is Natalie's birthday? No wonder there are so many news articles on her death investigation.

Seeing that, I was reflecting on what "Drama" meant, when he says to "baby Bro" on "Entourage" movie about saving him from a "Natalie Wood type of situation".

And then I open your blog and there is my question on "Entourage"
Thanks for answering my question Ken.

Ari Emanuel was your agent ??!!! Cool 😎

Yes, I read that it was based on Mark's life, but bears more resemblance to Leo and his entourage, which comprised and still does, of unemployed actor friends. One of his toadies was Kevin Connolly who portrayed the E character on the show.

Jake M. said...

Did you see the news Ken?

Harvey now says that he had a deal with Ashley Judd. She would allow him to "touch" her only if he 'gets' her an Oscar. But he bargained for a nomination. But she stood her ground for a win before letting him "touch" her.

And of course she denies it all.

One person who would be embarrassed by all this new revelation would be Gywneth Paltrow, as this will reconfirm the rumors of her win being 'bought' by Harvey for 'something' in return.

Xmastime said...

OPEN ALL HOURS was great, starring the legendary Ronnie Barker as well as David Jason, who would go on to play Del Boy in the greatest show of all time, ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES. :)

Michael said...

About Disney: in the early 1940s, Walt strongly fought unionization and went on to join the brigade that believed a communist lurked under every bush. So, I suspect some of the dislike for "Disney" is related to Disney himself.

Baylink said...

Ok, an official FQ for a change:

What do you think the outcome will be -- in light of your observing that Disney (who abandoned onesie animation in, what, the 60s? :-) will get even better on the animation front because of Pixar -- with the departure of John Lasseter, whom everyone seems to think is the heart and soul of Pixar.

I realize that the internals of the studio have become a little more diffuse over the years, but do you think that's enough?

And a side question: do you get anything from DVD boxset sales of MASH? Cause if so, I'll go replace the one I lost. :-)

Y. Knott said...

"Open All Hours" has no connection to "Open All Night". Yes, the shows are both set in a small all-night store, but there is no other particular similarity. Sure, fine, okay, there's a family who work at the store, but Arkwright is nothing like Gordon Feester, and Granville isn't at all like Terry. The plots, the character relationships, the jokes, the type of humour -- all different. You might as well say that the family-run hotel depicted in "Fawlty Towers" was remade as "Newhart".

Note that at some point AFTER "Open All Night" was in development (but before it was shot), the American production company bought the US rights to "Open All Hours". However, nothing from the British show was used. It was just a legal move to avoid any nuisance suits.

cadavra said...

To be fair, a lot of the animosity toward Disney may stem from the Eisner/Katzenberg years, where their arrirude toward both talent and employees was untoward, to say the least. Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg in particular were two of the loudest in terms of mistreatment and even contract violation. And we've all heard the famous story of how Harlan Ellison was fired during lunch on his first day after he was overheard cracking jokes--again, at lunch--about making an animated porn flick. Obviously, things are different now, but some resentments may still linger.

Bob said...

I assume today's Natalie photo is a studio publicity shot, so it must be innocent. But what on earth is going on in that photo??

VP81955 said...

That great Dame, Diana Rigg, was also born 80 years ago today. And whether it be on stage, film or TV, she's still needed.

Ralph C. said...

Fawlty Towers was Americanized as Payne on CBS in 1999, starring John Larroquette.

J Lee said...

Blogger Michael said...

About Disney: in the early 1940s, Walt strongly fought unionization and went on to join the brigade that believed a communist lurked under every bush. So, I suspect some of the dislike for "Disney" is related to Disney himself.

7/20/2018 7:31 AM

Michael Barrier's books on Hollywood Golden Age animation and on Disney himself deal with the conflicts the strike brought about, and the ensuing late 1940s testimony by Walt in front of HUAC in Washington. The animus pretty much springs from that, but the contemporaries who clashed with Walt in the 1940s always respected what he meant to the industry, and never went after him on the claims made today, especially the anti-Semitism allegations (which really showed up after 1966, because dead men neither tell tales nor file libel or slander lawsuits).

Ricky said...

Am I being paranoid if I say that, we may still hear from Megan Amram about your yesterday's post and the subsequent readers' comments?

This is her twitter a/c :

She keeps track of all the articles written about her. And surely she will see this and come to defend herself or pour hate on you and the readers who commented yesterday (including me).

Remember Zach Braff?

I saw the new comments from one reader Nicole on yesterday's post and thought "maybe that's Megan".

Also keeping an eye on her tweets.

Am I Paranoid?

Dr Loser said...

To echo Y. Knott, there is nothing at all to connect "Open All Night" to "Open All Hours." (I caught a couple of episodes of the American one, and it was quite enjoyable, if a bit stagey.)

You should probably check out "Open All Hours," Ken. At heart it's a gentle local family comedy, revolving around the three main characters of the shop-keeper, his inamorata (the District Nurse), and his put-upon nephew. I can't see it working as a comedy series on any form of TV in America these days -- however you'd want to translate the form -- but actually it might inspire you in your current career as a playwright.

Two standout performances: Ronnie Barker, a British comedy hero, and David Jason, not far behind. But the writer (Roy Clarke) managed to sustain the thing through four series. Definitely worth a peek on YouTube.

Dr Loser said...

I'd be remiss not to note that "Open All Hours" was the result of a speculative series of one-off "pilots" in 1973, all of which featured Ronnie Barker. I remember this as "Six of One," although apparently it was "Seven of One."

Two successful comedy series resulted: Porridge (the hero is banged up in prison) and Open All Hours.

Five different sets of writers (Clements and LaFrenais wrote two of them, as did Roy Clarke).

It would be interesting to see this experiment repeated today, although I can't see it getting past the Networks.

Anonymous said...

Open All Hours is great but Porridge is definitely in the sitcom pantheon. :)

Xmastime said...

The 4-episode sequel to Porridge, Going Straight, was really good too. (And featured a young Rodney Trotter!) :)

Peter said...

Ironic that there's a question about Disney, because just today Disney made a disgusting decision as a result of a right wing Trumpian campaign against director James Gunn. A few tasteless jokes on Twitter from years ago for which Gunn already apologized years ago have been dug up by Trump supporters and Disney have caved in and fired him from Guardians of the Galaxy 3. This is retaliation by the Trump fans for recent tweets by Gunn mocking Putin's bitch.

I would hope that Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and the rest of the cast will refuse to do the movie without him, but who am I kidding?

Fuck you, Disney.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Natalie got frosting on her dress when she blew out the candles and the two men on either side are assisting with frosting removal.


MikeN said...

Peter, Gunn also tweeted that companies should fire people if they find their tweeting reprehensible, when the subject was Roseanne.

Jeff Boice said...

The Walt Disney Company has a reputation for being very litigious and very protective of their copyrights. To the point where people thought they went to the lawyers too quickly- for instance going after those Florida day care centers who had painted Disney characters on their walls. Lots of bad publicity on that one. And there was lots of head-scratching over the Philadelphia Orchestra-Fantasia VCR release lawsuit- you'd think they could have worked things out privately with the Orchestra. But nope, it was off to court. And then there is the Peggy Lee case-a very popular win for the artist.

Aaron Sheckley said...

Part of the hate for Disney might be the cult like behavior of some of the rabid Disney fans, who can make hardcore Bronies seem positively down to earth in comparison. Part of it is the dichotomy between their public face as the purveyors of magic for children, and their corporate behavior as a ruthless entertainment empire who historically have appropriated others' work and branded it as their own, and who seem hell-bent on buying every entertainment medium and property so they can own and control, well, everything. Part of it is Disney's history of extreme litigiousness over intellectual property. Take your pick.

D McEwan said...

The divine Dame Diana Rigg also turns 80 today. Never quite realized that they were both born within hours of each other. So if you wonder what Natalie would look like now, take a look at Diana Rigg in Game Of Thrones.

D McEwan said...

Yes, I'd say it was recent Disney history that provokes the scorn. Still bitching about Walt's reactionaryism when he died 52 years ago, and the famous Disney Animator's Strike over 70 years ago, would just be strange. Everyone involved is dead.

therealshell said...

@Ralph C: Fawlty Towers was also "Americanized" as SNAVELY, with Harvey Korman, and AMANDA'S, with Bea Arthur.

Pat Reeder said...

Ken, I assure you that your low streaming payments aren't related to the age of the material but to the pathetic rates paid for streaming. My jazz singer wife has three CDs out, none older than 2009, and we recently got an accounting and payment from CDBaby. She was excited when she saw the list of plays on Spotify, iTunes, etc., of her songs, and it rolled on for page after page. Then we saw the payment: $54. That would pay for about two-thirds of one hour of the studio time it took to record them.

BTW, to Jake M: I seem to recall an old episode of "Family Guy" where the Griffins went to the movies and the marquee read, "Ashley Judd in 'I'm Sleeping With Someone at Paramount.'" I wonder if that was another example of Seth MacFarlane using a joke to let fans know what was really (or allegedly) going on in Hollywood.

MikeKPa. said...

Can't help but wonder what kind of career Natalie Wood would have had in her 50s, 60s, and 70s since she was already transitioning to TV in her 40s. Which got me to wondering, what were some of your favorite movies of hers? Mine are LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER and, of course, WEST SIDE STORY (even with Marni Nixon's voice coming out of Natalie's mouth).

Mike Doran said...

Anyone who becomes well-known, for whatever reason and in whatever field, should receive a Miranda Warning:
ANYTHING YOU SAY/WRITE/TWEET CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU IN THE "COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION"*no exceptions*no statute of limitations*no 'context'*no nothing*

Markus said...

Ken, follow-on question, about Carson's up there.

Carson says it's in 16:9 HD and looks great. That statement leaves me a bit... "aroo?" ... HD is all good and well even when the material is upscaled, but 16:9? Wasn't M*A*S*H shot in 4:3 fit for the TV sets of the time, and showing it in 16:9 cuts significant portions off of the image (which is at least as awful als colorized black/white originals...)? Or is this some sort of deluxe remastered version using original widescreen film?

Ted said...

Tasteless jokes? Peter did you even read that stuff? And this is not some kid or a nameless troll who can apologize and get away with it. It's by a grown man in public eye. Whatever you say will come back to haunt you.

He can say whatever he wants and apologize but that doesn't mean that we should ignore them and watch his movie. Well, that's what all are saying. And seeing that this will be a PR nightmare and also will dent their cash registers, Disney fired him to save their franchise. It's just a business move.

And coming to the other actors, yeah right they will quit 😂
They will just make all the right noises and garner some press, but will ultimately go back and make a movie with whoever Disney hires. There's a big fat paycheck at the end of the day. And not to mention the lifelong fat paychecks from residuals.

Aaron Sheckley said...

Public figures have ALWAYS been held accountable by the public for things they say and do. John Lennon got reminded up until the day he was murdered about the "we're bigger than Jesus" comment, and Jane Fonda is still being reminded of her "Hanoi Jane" days after 50 years, in a country where half the people probably don't even remember what Hanoi was. Both those comments were made by twenty-somethings; Fonda's in her eighties now, and people still haven't let go of it.

The difference now is the degree at which public figures are able to spew their nonsensical ramblings into the ether, and the degree at which the public has so many platforms to become cogs in the rage machine. Well, the public isn't going to stop raging about stuff; for one thing, rage is cathartic. People love to get angry, it's a better dopamine rush than sex. For another, the public now has an easy-to-access platform where they can immediately convey their rage, without even the drudgery of having to sit down and write a letter. It's like a junkie with a non-stop supply of heroin. The only thing that might put a stop to this would be for someone to study the effect of internet rage and find out if it truly affects the bottom line of a business or corporation. If someone like ABC or Netflix learned that all this rage was truly impotent and didn't result is a sustainable loss to revenue, you'd see a lot more businesses giving the middle finger to the public and saying "thanks for your input, but we're gonna hang on to Gunn/Roseanne/O'Reilly/whomever".

Janet Ybarra said...

I'm not sure why people haven't learned the lesson, yet: Be circumspect about what you put on the Internet. Especially since President Voldemort is constantly in trouble for his myriad toiletside tweets.

Just be a grown up about it.

Dr Loser said...

You don't need to worry about young women throwing themselves at you, Ken.

With wonky knees and sundry other age-related issues, you wouldn't be able to catch them no matter how accurate their aim.

But ... as males .. we can always dream.

(I'm dreaming of Sigourney Weaver right now, but then again I'm tall enough to catch her.)

Janet Ybarra said...

The last major copyright bill enacted into law, in 1998, was decided as the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act," because it would dramatically lengthen copyright protection on many older Disney characters.

DARON72 said...

Thanks, guys, for setting me straight on the "Open All Night"/"Open All Hours" issue but a big thank you to Ken for being kind enough to answer what turned out to be a foolish question. Sorry about that.
However, I do second the earlier recommendation to watch "Open All Hours" anyway.

Bob B. said...

Well I can only speak for myself but I can tell you why I hate Disney. I have yet to see anything that Disney has put out in the last twenty years that is worth my time. It's formulated. It's dreadfully dull.

And for the most part it's what I call "ego productions". Nothing to enjoy, just mainly a company putting out stuff to say "Look at me". And much like Fox News, Disney has their zombies. They will watch nearly anything with the Disney label regardless of quality. Fox got about 60 million voters to do that and look who we got in return.

Lawman592 said...

There's one thing that hasn't been extensively discussed about the hatred of Disney: the continuing cult of personality that exists for its founder. Of all the Hollywood moguls from the Golden Era, how many stuck their names on a theme park? There's no Zanuckville, Selznick City, Warnerworld, or Cohnland. Aside from references in corporate histories, you hear almost nothing about the founders of the other remaining big studios and they don't continue to exert their influence from beyond the grave (or perhaps the cryonic storage unit in this case).

Janet Ybarra said...

Err, that should have been "derrided as" not "decided as."

Kosmo13 said...

In the Natalie Wood photo, is the man with the eye patch Nicholas Ray? If so, he was her boyfriend and allowed to touch her... frosting.

Anonymous said...

In the Natalie Wood photo, is the man with the eye patch Nicholas Ray?

Sinatra (left) and Wagner

Oliver said...

Ken, here is a completely unrelated question: How do you shoot reveal gags on sitcoms that are recorded live in front of an audience? I recently saw an old FRIENDS episode, where Chandler didn‘t remember what the sister of Joey‘s that he had slept with looked like, only her name, so when he heared she was in the next room, he happyly walked in there - only to see all six or so of them. Now the audience laughed the moment we saw all six of them, but must have seen them already, so there can‘t have been the same „reveal“ moment there was for Chandler and us. How do you get that right? Tell the audience when to laugh? Surely not. Did they laugh at Chandler‘s reaction? Was ist pre-recorded just for the sake of that one gag?

Sorry of you answered that one already, I only read your excellent blog for nine or ten years now...