Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Ten years ago...

I haven't done this in awhile, but since very few people read the archives, especially from way back, I like to occasionally reprise Friday Questions from ten years ago.  As NBC once said about reruns:  "If you haven't seen it, it's new to YOU."   

This was from July 16, 2010.  Back when the horrible virus was just hosting a reality show.

Let’s start with Matt:

I have quite a few MASH scripts in my collection and in reading through them, none of writers indicate Stage 9 vs. Fox Ranch locations. How did the production staff decide which location to shoot scenes (aside from the obvious: EXT. CHOPPER PAD - DAY).

The key factor was “time of year”. We could shoot exteriors of the Swamp and Mess Tent right on the stage if we had to (they didn’t look as good but we occasionally did it). I wanted to have helicopters landing in Stage 9 but no one was willing to build the giant removable sunroof that would require.

In the summer when it was light from 6 A.M. to 8 P.M. we shot one day for every episode at the Malibu Ranch location. But in planning the scripts we knew that meant a maximum of eight pages. So we laid out the stories accordingly.

And once we went of Daylight Savings Time that was it for location shooting the rest of the season.

If there was an episode that contained mostly interiors (say a poker game show), we held it back. If you have the MASH DVD’s you’ll see a lot more actual exterior scenes in the first half of each season.

sophomorecritic has a question:

When I first saw Mark Feuerstein in Conrad Bloom, I found him to be a likeable actor. Then the show got cancelled and I don't remember seeing him again until Royal Pains where he's really found a niche.
You have any comments or reflections on his circuitous route to stardom? I also thought Conrad Bloom was a good show, what went wrong?

Mark has done a lot of things. I first worked with him before CONRAD BLOOM on FIRED UP where he was a regular.

For some reason he has had the misfortune of being in quite a few series that never took off. In addition to the two I’ve already mentioned there was THE HEART DEPARTMENT (I don’t even remember that one), GOOD MORNING MIAMI, and 3 LBS.

He’s also been in movies with scumbag Mel Gibson and sweetheart Sandra Bullock. I also saw him on stage starring in a Neil LaBute play last year and he was riveting.

As you said, Mark has an incredibly likable quality. He’s also very real. And having directed him numerous times I can tell you he’s a complete gentleman and professional.

I’m happy ROYAL PAINS is starting to catch on. Mark is really one of the good guys. And off the subject, but his wife Dana is equally terrific.

It’s hard to say just why CONRAD BLOOM didn’t work. Probably my directing.

But seriously, it had some good people and good writers. My guess is it came along the year there was such a glut of sitcoms (or as I like to call it – “the Golden Age when we all could make our car payments”) that it got lost in the shuffle.

Aw, who we kidding? It was my directing.

From Vermonter17032 :

Ken, your desire to be Hawkeye raises an interesting question: Is Hawkeye Pierce the coolest TV sitcom character ever?

No. I would have to say the Fonz and maybe Daryl from Larry, Daryl, and Daryl. Not that Daryl. The other Daryl.

Brian Phillips wonders:

Up until the 1990's, I could tell the difference between videotaped shows and filmed shows. Video shows usually looked bright, like news and sports shows, while the filmed shows' colors and lighting are subtler. Are all sitcoms all on film now or have some merely converted to a high quality of videotape?

To my knowledge, all sitcoms – single and multiple camera – are taped in High Def now. With the proper lightening, you can pretty much simulate that softer film look. If only it could make the jokes funnier.

And finally, from Ed Blonski:

Kelsey Grammer just tweeted a show idea about the Crane brothers' sons with guest appearances of Frasier characters.

I'm wondering what you think of the idea and if you would write for such a show?

First off, it depends on who writes it. If it’s Peter Casey & David Lee or the Charles Brothers then I would certainly entertain it. Otherwise, I highly doubt I'd get involved. And I can’t speak for those four gentleman obviously, but my stab-in-the-dark guess is you’d have to put a loaded gun to their heads to get them to consider it. And even then I dunno.

This idea sounds like the MUPPET BABIES but with FRASIER, which brings to mind an idea I always had – CHEERS BABIES. See baby Norm and baby Cliff at the bar drinking beers. I think it would be a delightful show for the kiddies.What's your question???


Glenn said...

If they move ahead with the Frasier reboot, I still maintain they should bring the series full circle and have Frasier return to Boston.

Unknown said...

I’m sure you can’t admit to it because you wrote for him, but Hawkeye Pierce is absolutely the coolest sitcom character! And Trapper John was my first on-screen crush.

iamr4man said...

The Laurel and Hardy short “Brats” in which they play their own sons is very funny.

Unknown said...

I would tune into Muppet Cheers

Unknown said...

I like re-runs, so please continue posting flashbacks. Here's a suggestion, you create a database of all the answered FQs. Then once a month have it randomly select 4 or 5 questions for a post. So you don't repeat repeats, just set a flag in the DB that it was used and what date. One field would be the type of post (sports, TV, mash, writing, etc) and when it automatically posts once a month, it uses the type to do an internet search for a photo and include with the post.

Arthur Mee said...

Maybe it's just me, but I don't find Hawkeye cool. B.J. was easily ten times cooler than Hawkeye on his *best* day.

YMMV, of course.

blinky said...

Mel Gibson was a scumbag way back then. Ha!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Bloodworth said...

Since Ken is rehashing an old blog, I'll restate a previous comment.

I would read the archives more often (The "t" is silent) if they were organized in a different way. Rather than being arranged by dates it should be by subject. That is, blogs about "M*A*S*H," blogs about "CHEERS," about "Frasier," etc., etc. I also think there should be a FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions section. That could save Ken from having to answer the same "Friday Questions" over and over again. As I said, maybe he could hire an intern or trick somebody with vast computer knowledge into doing it.
Speaking of F.Q's., I have also said many times that if Ken has answered my question before he can always direct me to the archived blog.

I don't mind reposting old blogs as long as they are labeled as such as was today's. What bothers me is when an archived blog is passed off as new. e.g. the "Arthur" blog.

The one "CHEERS" episode I would have loved to have seen is an "historical flashback."
The premise could be that during some sort of remodeling or construction they find some document or artifact from the 1800's. Then Diane or one of the other characters would inevitably say, "I wonder what it would have been like in those days?"
Wavey lines, harp music, soft focus...
Sam could still be a baseball player, but with a big, handlebar mustache. The photo behind him would be a daguerreotype. Cliff could still be a mail carrier, pontificating about the plusses and minuses of the pony express. Diane would still be the uptight intellectual, Norm could still be the fat guy, etc. I wish someone had written an episode like that. Hint hint.


Unknown said...

I enjoyed that. Those posts were fun to read. I think people are naturally nostalgic, which is why I'm checking my Facebook memories all the time. It dawned on me that I need to be making some new memories, or I wont have anything to look back on.

Kosmo13 said...

IMHO, the two coolest TV sitcom characters were both disc jockeys: Dr. Johnny Fever on 'WKRP in Cincinnati' and The Love Man on 'Rhythm & Blues.'

Unknown said...

I don't remember Conrad Bloom, but looking it up, I see it also had Steve Landesberg. I always loved him, thought he was funny, but never saw much of him. If I'm off on my assessment, was he tough to work with and that's why he wasn't seen more? Looking him up on Wikipedia, turns out, his last role (wiki wouldn't lie) was on Everyone Hates Chris, where he played....Mr. Levine. Are you honored?


Anonymous said...

Neil LaBute

Kirk said...

That first question-and-answer made me think of a Friday Question. What about those times when Hawkeye and Trapper or Hawkeye and BJ are inside the Swamp, but through some sort of opening--I'm not sure window is the right word--you can see people walking around outside? it looks to me like a "real" outside, yet I know it would be somewhat impractical to put a TV camera inside a tent. So is it some rear projection kind of thing like you see in old movies (when people are riding in a taxi, for instance), or is that an interior shot too, and through clever lighting it just LOOKS like an exterior?

Troy McClure said...

I don't think there's been a more beautiful dose of karma than the news that Steve Bannon defrauded Trump supporters who donated millions to a phony fundraiser to build the border wall.

Reading comments online, Trump supporters are calling the news a lie.

I said it before, I'll say it again. Holy shit these are the dumbest people on the face of the earth. I'm talking breathtaking, groundbreaking, historically unprecedented levels of stupidity. A bag of flour has a higher IQ.

Unknown said...

They were the best duo in terms of strongest friendship (both on and off camera). Bj has always been my favorite character since day one, but I love how they play off of each other.