Wednesday, July 31, 2019


Thanks to everybody who heeded my clarion call and checked in yesterday. (And you still can.  Go to the Comments Section of today's post or yesterday's post.)    I write in a vacuum all year and it's nice to know some folks are still out there.    Since I started this blog way back in 2005 I've gotten over 32,000,000 page views, but that could have been the same four people.

When I started this folly I just assumed 90% of my readership would be in the 310 area code, with another 7% in the 818.  I'm always amazed when people all over the country and the world log on.  And even more shocked when I am sometimes recognized -- although these days that's mostly from my appearances on CNN.

In any event, your comments were very gratifying.  And I wanted to take a day and really acknowledge that; not just mention it in passing.   Since I've yet to find a way to really monetize this blog (which is probably why so many blogs are discontinuing), knowing people are getting something out of it is my big perk.

How long will I continue?  Not sure.  At least for now certainly.  And yesterday's response helps. When I started I never thought I'd still be doing this 14 years later.  Of course I never thought I'd be creating a little global community either.   Okay, so that's another perk.

Oh, and for those new readers who are wondering -- if I can't find an appropriate photo to go along with day's entry I post a picture of Natalie Wood.  I'm sure there's a large percentage of my readers who log on just for that.

Onward and sideways...


E. Yarber said...

As someone who generally abuses the comments section here, I really enjoyed listening to all the people who are usually silent. I hope they feel welcome to talk more now that they've broken the ice.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

(I didn't respond yesterday because I responded the *first* year I saw the request...)

You may not be able to monetize the blog directly, but the blog, the podcast, the books, and the plays all feed each other's success and together make a nice little industry. In Internet terms a pretty successful one, too. Seems to me that excising the blog would damage the rest - using a weekly podcast to promote productions of your plays seems like it wouldn't work nearly as well.

In any event, thanks for providing a near-daily bite to read.


D Lewis said...

Hi Ken. Was a huge fan of Cheers as a young adult in the 80s (find Sam's harassment of Rebecca heard to watch now, but still love the Shelley Long seasons). Later a huge fan of Frasier (still rewatch it regularly & "Room Service" is a favorite). Started reading your blog after hearing you on Kevin Smith's Frasier podcast. Have listened to and enjoyed all episodes of the podcast, even most of the baseball themed episodes. Love hearing about the writing process, TV production and any"how the show biz sausage gets made" stories. I have lived in Egypt for the past six years. Thanks for all the great work!

blinky said...

Yours is the only blog I read everyday. In fact it is the only blog I've ever read as far as I can recall. I love your insights into the biz. That Tarentino post was great. Start the scene later Quentin!

I live up in cloud city, or what was called Silicon Valley when they made chips here. I do video production for various destroyers of our way of life and NBC/Universal/Comcast which just watches the destruction.

I downloaded a bunch of your Podcasts to listen on my flight to Hawaii Friday. Looking forward to the Jame Burrows ones.

How is it you never wrote for Taxi?

therealshell said...

I thought a few of the comments seemed phoned in.

molemento said...

Where are you from? Metro NY
What demographic? Same as yourself
How long have you been reading? Couple years
How did you find the blog in the first place? Through Evanier's blog
What topics do you like and dislike? I like all of them, and appreciate another Natalie Wood fan.
Are you also listening to my podcast? On occassion.
What do you like or dislike about that? I like your podcast, but I'm not a big podcast listener.

Steve_Law said...

Have enjoyed TV and its behind the scenes stories since I was a kid. Was a big fan of shows like Maverick, Rockford and Columbo and then, of course, MASH and Cheers. I think I first learned of your blog back in the day when blogs were new and I think it was Time magazine named your blog among it's some number of best blogs. So I think have enjoyed your blog for probably over a decade.

Favorite posts are probably those where you discuss what goes on behind the scenes and those that feature how important writers are (or - in some cases - are not to entertainment's detriment) in the process of making television or movies. Aside from the James Garners, Alan Aldas or Ted Dansons or Mary Tyler Moores, Allison Janneys or Kristen Bells (as if there are multiples of any of them!) who seem to be able to make the most pedestrian material sparkle, I tend to follow writers (now showrunners) more than performers.

As a child of the 60s though, I also enjoy the nostalgic and baseball posts. Still recall the days in 1964 listening to Phillies games on the radio as they frittered away what I had thought was an insurmountable lead in the NL. (Alas no Vin Scully to call those games. A lot of stadium noise between pitches and vendor's cries of "Popcorn...Peanuts".) And the radio ones also. In NJ was able to listen to WABC and Philly stations. Discovered Jean Shepherd later thru his short stories.

Anyway, your link is one that gets clicked every morning. Keep up the great work.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

I got it. Here's how to monetize the darn thing...

Do a cruise. Look, if Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow and Paul Petersen can cobble together a cruise of fans of their shows, why not do the same for the shows you've helped? The creators would have to give you their permission, but they might...and the cruises with interested cast members from MASH, Cheers, etc., would certainly be fun.

...and your blog could be the core advertising vehicle.

MHSweb79 said...

Hello I am a daily reader from Rhode Island. I grew uo outside Boston listening to Dale Dorman in the early ‘ 70s so it was fun to actually recognize a DJ in your blog. Once I submitted a Friday question and you used it- very exciting for a semi-retired (underemployed) empty-nester such as myself.

I sometimes listen to the poscasts while I am quilting. Loved the one with David.

Peter said...

The master is back to show how it's done.

Teaser trailer for Martin Scorsese's The Irishman.

Just give it all the Oscars now.

Baylink said...

Wendy nails it:

It's mindshare.

SF author Richard Lee Byers is an acquantaince of mine; I met him at our local SF/Fantasy/Horror con, Necronomicon, which is almost 40 years old now. I follow him on Facebook, and, in lieu of spending all his writing chops on FB postings (essentially, blogging), he posts a daily feature called "Ape of the Day", in which he posts some photo with a gorilla in it, and makes up a fanciful explanation of what is going on.

He gets a laugh, he gets to hone his comedic chops, and he shows up in fans feed every day, with something they actually want to see

Your blogging is largely the same thing, though the mechanism of action is slightly different.

Glad you're still motivated enough to do it, and enjoy the stuff that comes out.

Peter said...

I recently watched your Simpsons episode Saturdays of Thunder again. I always assumed the cute and corny song with the "That's my boy" refrain was specially written and recorded for the episode. It was only after looking on youtube out of curiosity that I learned it's a song from the 70s called Watching Scotty Grow by Bobby Goldsboro. Did you and David write its inclusion into your script?

JeffR said...

Hi Ken- Still here for about 5-6 years - found you through Reel Radio, I'm now a 62 year old
former deejay who is now a fundraising auctioneer. Also heard you as the announcer for my Mariners here in Seattle. I also grew up in Burbank so I can relate to your childhood memories. I love the broad topics and so many fresh things along with great wordsmithing!!

forg/jecoup said...

I'm 31 years old, male from the Philippines. Discovered your blog when Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet tweeted your post about what actors go through during auditions and I have been an avid reader since, so that's nearly a decade now. My favorite topic is TV related stuff then your movie reviews. I don't read the baseball ones because I can't relate

I listen to your podcast occasionally especially when you have an interesting guest. I like it better when you talk to someone rather than just being solo

dotraylor said...

I am mostly retired from years in the film/TV industry here in Georgia. Worked mostly in Atlanta until my wife retired from teaching and we moved to the North Georgia mountains. I love your blog for many reasons. Always fun and informative to get the perspective of a different side of the industry than the part I worked in (I was a gaffer) and I was and am a big M*A*S*H and Cheers fan. I also remain a life-long baseball fan so your posts about baseball are equally of interest.

Keep it up. I will be a daily reader as long as you feel like posting.


Dave Creek said...

I've answered this before, but it's always good to update. I'm a retired newscast producer from Louisville, KY, starting my career at the great WHAS-TV, which is now, at best, just another TV station. Those cutbacks are a bitch. I retired from WDRB-TV almost six years ago.

I also write science fiction, and I have several novels and short story collections out, mostly from small presses or self-pubbed. And I've sold a bunch of short stories, mostly to ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION and AMAZING STORIES.

My faves of your posts, like so many other people are the behind-the-scenes TV ones. Unlike many, I'm even more interested in the writing/producing/directing stories than the ones about the stars.

Not a sports fan, so I skip or skim those. I listen to the occasional podcast of yours, more than anyone else's in fact, but I can read a lot faster than I listen, so I don't listen to many at all.

David Silverman said...

Hi Ken
I’m also a (former) comedy writer— 25 years. Love your blog. I broke in on the Jeffersons to - actually after selling a story to Mork and Mindy. Casey and Lee gave us our first Jeffersons. Staff on a dozen shows including Alf, 9 to 5, Alice, One day at a Time. Created 5 shows- know Vic and Linda and Suzanne Martin.

I’m a therapist now working with writers. Fascinating work. Love talking to writers. I wrote a blog fir5 years called Hollywood Therapy. Kind of like a Palumbo’s blogs/articles. Dennis and I are friends.

Love the photos of Natalie.

Anonymous said...

In all seriousness what the hell was Christopher Walken doing on that damn boat?

Jim Grey said...

I'm in central Indiana. I came over here from Mark Evanier's blog I forget how many eons ago. Mark's was the first blog I ever followed. Love the stories about radio the most as a onetime rock disk jockey.

Anthony Adams said...

I confess checking for the Natalie pictures is part of my reason for looking in every day

Rick Wiedmayer said...

I'm 69 and am from Summerville, SC and have been following your blog for years. (Thank you Mark Evanier.) Haven't done the podcasts (can't sit still long enough to get through them.
Don't watch TV anymore unless there's a baseball game on (or hockey if I am desperate.) Love all the stories and enjoy the behind the scenes looks. Also, thank you for answering a couple of Friday questions that I had.

Mike Doran said...

Is this the Meet 'n' Greet?

Mike Doran here, from southwest suburban Chicago.
69 in two months time, retired, fixed income, unmarried (straight and unlucky), registered Democrat (in Illinois you have to declare in order to vote in primaries), recovering White Sox fan, inactive Catholic, devotee of old movies and TV (which are the same thing, really), and I come here each day because I have no life.

Back around 2005 (approx.), the company I worked for gave me a computer for job purposes, at a time when my job was drying up around me.
With increasing down time, I started looking for other things to do on line; my showbiz curiosity led me to Mark Evanier's site, which was my gateway to yours.
I also found my way to Amazon, Alibris, and other sales venues, where I was able to replenish my collections of books, CDs, DVDs, and other such sources of delight.
On other sites, I sometimes mention my "Old DVD Wall", which provides me with almost endless supplies of lore to plague them (and you) with.
If you check back on my previous posts here, you doubtless know my "political" fixations, such as the Electoral College (the Great American Booby Trap, without which Hilary Clinton would be President - but that's another story), and the misuse of the word base (which in politics has the opposite meaning of its mathematical one - details on request).
As to the first-ever non-English-speaking President of the USA - well, you already know that, don't you?
(Oops - just called him a name, didn't I? Sorry …)
I also have a major problem with Demographics, THE Junk Science of my lifetime and yours (the forthcoming 69th birthday I mentioned above will mark 20 years of my being The Wrong Age for respect).
Reading: generally mystery-detective fiction (old and new and in-between), and showbiz history (with majors in B-movies, very early TV, and the frequent intersection between these two), with occasional forays into politics (subject to my acid reflux).
Sidebar: May I suggest that all the pol thinkers here try to track down Presidential Lottery, James A. Michener's account of his experience as a Presidential Elector from Pennsylvania in 1968, and how that sojourn, combined with his subsequent researches, led him to a fierce opposition to the whole system.
Michener wrote the book in 1969 (fifty years ago); I only found out about it last year - and I wish to God I'd heard of it years earlier.
I have a feeling some of you might feel the same …

I guess that's more than enough confessional for now.
Any questions - you know where I am.

David said...

818 represent! I'm the guy who lured you out to the wilds of Malibu to talk to that men's group. (Guys still thank me for that -- you were awesome.)

This blog is one of the first sites I visit each day, and I find myself sending a link to a friend at least once a week or so. I enjoy the stories and the observations equally. Keep up the good work -- and the Natalie Wood photos.

Janet said...


Janet Ybarra from the Washington DC area, middle-aged TV fan.

I've been reading for several years now and I listen to the podcast.

Big, big MASH fan.

Really enjoy Friday Questions.

You should be really proud of what you have accomplished with your blog, and don't like hearing that writing it has gotten more difficult.

I've spent my career coming up with content, including online so if you ever need ideas please let me know.

Ken said...

Where are you from? New Jersey

What demographic? The Middle aged guy from Jersey demographic

How long have you been reading? So long I can't remember when I started, but at least 7-8 years

How did you find the blog in the first place? Word of mouth from a friend that knew I was a fan of William Goldman's non fiction (and truth be told fiction) books

What topics do you like and dislike? Love the Inside Hollywood stories and Baseball announcing stuff. Though I pretty much agree with you politically, I'm exhausted by how divided this country has come.

Are you also listening to my podcast? Yes. I do enjoy them.

What do you like or dislike about that? Love the interviews you do with writers. The only thing I slightly dislike is that the podcast isn't as convenient as the blog. I can read the blog anywhere while I need to find a place and time for the podcast.

BD Johnson said...

long time daily reader, you do a great job keeping it interesting. You could just put in half the effort and it would still be good.
I work in the business (TV/Film) as a cameraman. I found the blog as a recommendation from Rob Long. I'm also a big baseball fan. (Go Dodgers!)

HM Surratt said...

I've been lurking around for 11 or 12 years, usually checking in every day. Hell, I check in almost as often as I do with MLB Trade Rumors. A former resident of Los Angeles, I've been along for your ride while living in Austin and (now) NYC. I worked in Radio in LA as Music Director at KMET in the late 70s and early 80s, so all of your industry tales are of great interest to me. Retired now after 48 years in the Music Biz. I do occasionally listen to, and always enjoy, your podcasts and enjoy your snarky reviews (written and audio). We share completely our political views. I often forward some of your essays to friends around the country. Mark Evanier turned me on to your blog. That's it in a nutshell.

Unknown said...

Hello from Exeter, N.H., and fellow writer and friend with Lee Goldberg.

Chris Ngram said...

Hi, Ken;

Chris Ingram here, back in South Florida. I hope you know what a fan my dad was, and Maureen still is. I guess that makes me a second generation fan! I really appreciate your insights (and occasional incites, for that matter!). I hope some day I get to put them to use.

Thanks, and all my Best,


PS: sorry about the typo in my name...

ChrisB said...

Live in the South Bay, middle-aged former TV writer -- some popular, most not -- and been reading for over 12 years? Most of your topics resonate with me, so I come back every day. I have worked with some of your guests, so familiarity strengthens that connection to the blog. Listen to the podcast some, and enjoy it. I think my wife found you first, via Facebook... back when it started and everyone friended everyone. She reached out because we're huge baseball fans. She didn't know you were a writer. Classic.

Anyway, hope you don't hang it up, but if you do, very understandable. Be good...

Unknown said...

"Where are you from?" Grand Rapids, MI

"What demographic?" 44, "woke" white male :)

"How long have you been reading?" Not sure how long, but it's been several years!

"How did you find the blog in the first place?" I'm a long-term reader of Mark Evanier's blog as well, so I'm pretty sure he mentioned you in one of his posts and it went from there.

"What topics do you like and dislike?" It's all interesting to me. Our politics are pretty similar, so I don't take umbrage from those posts, but you're kind of preaching to the choir. :)

"Are you also listening to my podcast?" Yep, weekly! :)

"What do you like or dislike about that?" I tend to like the interviews with people from the industry... James Burrows recently was AWESOME, for example. I loved the one with Randy Thomas as well... I like hearing about interesting little "corners" of show business. :)

Keep it up as long as you enjoy it, sir! It's been a pleasure to meet you in person and I will certainly continue to enjoy (and hopefully perform!) your work in the future!

Brent Alles

Craig B said...

I look forward to and read your blog every day. I especially like the sports related blogs and enjoy your story telling. I also listen to all of your podcasts which are especially enjoyable as I miss you doing the Mariner's broadcasts. Please keep up the great work.

Lemuel said...

I've done your survey before, Ken, but here goes. I'm a sixtyish retiree who enjoys your blog daily. I hear your podcast intermittently but due to stroke damage I absorb the written word better than I do the spoken. I grew up in the midwest never hearing the radio greats you write about like Dan Steele (though I appreciated Larry Lujack on WCFL and WLS). I keep my posts short because I learned the hard way that a little Lem goes a long way. Plus, my high school never had no Jan Smithers,sob.

Lisa F. said...

Hi Ken,

I'm the woodwind doubler who played Larry Gelbart's City of Angels in community theater (and always sing along ♪♫♪ to the musical intro to "Hollywood and Levine" (is that weird?), and was thrilled to get a reply from you on Twitter a couple weeks ago! So that makes me a lurker until replying to your tweet for the first time. Perhaps now I'll respond more on here now that you helped to break the ice!

Because my day job is an elementary teacher in a metro-DC suburb in Maryland, I have a lot of extra time on my hands for a few more weeks. The O's haven't been doing well, have they? And the Nats aren't much better.

I've been reading your blog and listening to your podcast for about a year, and one led to the other. Not sure which one came first, the chicken or the egg. I don't remember how I found you. Could've been the result of a Google search on one of the shows you wrote for, and I just kept clicking on links. I like all topics related to Cheers and MASH.

I thoroughly enjoy your candid, dry, humor, and I often have to try very hard to keep beverages in my mouth while listening to the unexpected zingers in your podcast, LMAO! I appreciate the majority of your chosen topics, especially your podcast interviews and answers to the Friday Questions. I honestly don't have any pet peeves or dislikes about either your blog or podcast - keep up the great work, Ken!

-Lisa F.
College Park, MD

therealshell said...

Dear Anonymous - Christopher Walken was more than likely on *that* boat because he and Natalie Wood had acted together (as husband & wife) in the film BRAINSTORM, so perhaps they were close. For what it's worth BRAINSTORM is an okay film, as I recall. I saw it more than thirty-five years ago. I am older than dirt. I don't know how to post links, but this is a scene from BRAINSTORM. Natalie looked lovely, as always.

Pat Howard said...

Hey KEN I'm from Bad AXE MI. 69 years old and I read your blog every day. I listen to the podcast sometimes. Anyway, I enjoy your take on stuff please keep it up.

VincentS said...

Thank YOU, Ken. It's always great to hear your insights and kind of you to let us know you really listen to us. You've answered over a dozen of my questions over the years and always promptly email me back.

Arizona Guy said...

Hi, Ken:
Old guy of 67 from Arizona (check the name) and found your blog a couple of years looking for writing resources and I've gone back and re-read all of them. I like it because, when I was in my early teens, I started reading the credits and realized (yeah, a bit slow on the uptake) that someone 'wrote what the characters said', they just didn't make it up. Flash forward many, many years and I tried writing some screenplays, got an 'agent' (won't go into that), and realized that my forte was better in the novel form, so I'm still plugging away.

I like the podcasts and all the bits and pieces you relate about writing and putting together a show. I look forward to the blog every day (okay, you deserve Sunday off), and I hope I can keep reading it for a long time. Keep up the great work!

mdv59 said...

I just want to say I really appreciate the time and energy you put into this blog (and podcast). As I once posted before, I don't know where you find the time and energy, but I'm glad you do.

As a reward for your efforts, here's a list of some Natalie Woods pictures that you may not have seen before.

Brian said...

Name: Brian Phillips
City: McDonough, GA
Age: 55
Turn-ons: Walks on the beach
Sorry that was for a shoot that I...oh,skip it.

I found your blog through my friend Mark and it has been a happy seven or so years reading your blog and hearing the podcast. Harlan Ellison said, "I write them, you read them" and that was basically the contract, when he wrote the essay. Thanks to the internet, I was able to correspond with him and, through your Friday Questions features, you and that is beyond my hopes and desires for writers I admire.

Now and perennially, Thank You!

GC said...

i'm still here 8 years later. DINAE's PERFECT DATE is still my fovourite sitcom episode. Same city, same country, Paris, France

Artie in Sin City said...

Your voice is cherished by so many...May it continue to ring true and be heeded for long, long to come...

David Das said...

I'm a music composer for film and TV here in LA. I'm a longtime reader of the blog -- probably 12 years or so. Can't remember how I found it originally. I've enjoyed reading it almost daily. I love the inside stories and particularly like hearing you talk about the creative process. Even though we're in different fields, I get a lot of brain food out of hearing you work out your own puzzles and I take that back to my own musical creative process. Thanks for keeping on it all these years.

Oh, and I skip all the baseball stuff unless it's really short.

Thanks Ken!

-David Das (

Rocketman said...

Hi Ken,
Melbourne Australia. Yours is one of the many sites that I check once a week. I thank you for your contribution to Frasier - a show that every member of my family adores - not a common feat, given our eclectic tastes. I'm fascinated by the behind the scenes shenanigans of our favorite shows and love to hear your opinions on the current state of entertainment. Being in Australia, I admit to skipping the baseball stories, but that's cool...keep writing about what you like. My favorite section are the Friday questions. Again, many thanks for the blog and for your contribution to my favorite shows. Mark

Michael Hagerty said...

Oh, man---Traveling or I would have been on the first minute of Tuesday.

My name's Mike Hagerty. A native Southern Californian who lucked into a small-market (Bishop, CA) radio gig at age 15 and 48 years later (after a 30-year detour in TV news) is still at it---co-anchoring the afternoon news at KFBK, Sacramento.

I've said before in our private correspondences that I loved your work from KIQQ through M*A*S*H, Frasier and the rest and my mornings wouldn't be complete without this blog.

If it's before 8, and I start laughing out loud, my wife asks "What did Ken write today, honey?"

So please, keep it up!

Tom said...

I've been reading for several years...maybe 10? I'm a writer/editor from Chicago, White Sox fan, TV/movies/comedy fan. No recollection of how I found your blog, sorry. I read it every day, and totally appreciate the baseball stuff.

ELS said...

Mr. Levine, I'm in Greater Cleveland, and I've been enjoying your posts for years now. I like the insight into both the broadcasting, movie, and baseball business. If you had experience in the doughnut business, your style of writing would probably attract me to that as well!

And I have a FRIDAY QUESTION for you. I'm enjoying CNN's "The Movies", on which you're featured several times. I've absolutely no doubt of your credentials - but a lot of the commenters are acting professors, bloggers, critics, etc. I'd like to know if these people are really experts, or if they were just in the right place at the right time, and have an opinion that's no more valid than mine.

Thanks, and keep up the great blog!

Chris in Cowtown said...

Where are you from? Calgary, Canada

What demographic? Late 40s

How long have you been reading? At least a decade

How did you find the blog in the first place? Canadian TV Critic Bill Brioux's blog.

What topics do you like and dislike? Love the Inside Hollywood stories and Baseball announcing stories. I don't tend to listen to the Podcasts as I can't dedicate the time while at work. However, you are the first link I click on in the morning.

Are you also listening to my podcast? Rarely. For some reason I feel guilty about that. As we Canadians say, "sorry".

What do you like or dislike about that? It isn't that I don't like your podcast. It just isn't a medium I use.

Ray said...

Bob Robertson, who did play by play for the Washington State Cougars for years, was the last of the "re-creators" for baseball. Look him up he might talk with you. I live in the Seattle area and even worked with him from time to time.

Matt said...


Was Mako Iwamatsu cast on the FRASIER first season episode "Author Author" due to his connection with you and David on MASH?

JABarge said...

I started reading your blog after “Time” named one of the 25 best, and I’m glad I did.

I’ve been a freelancer most of my life, writing and producing corporate communication, TV new promos, most enjoyably, greeting cards. As a fan of the entertainment industry, I appreciate your insights.

I also enjoy your go-to photos. I saw “West Side Story” when I was six years old. Loved it then, love it now. And that’s when I, too, became a fan of Natalie Wood.

Thanks for everything.

Maureen Connolly said...

Hi Ken, I read your blog and listen to your podcast from St. Louis, MO. I've been reading the blog for about 10 years. At one point my lunchtime ritual was to go to your archives and read the blogs from the beginning. You've said several times that hardly anyone does that, so I guess that makes me your favorite reader, right?