Saturday, September 11, 2021

9-11 and David & Lynn Angel

This is my Weekend Post.  It's 9-11.  I re-post this every year on this date and always will. 

9/11 affected us all, profoundly and in many cases personally. Two of my dear friends were on flight 11. David and Lynn Angell. There hasn’t been a day I haven’t thought of them, missed them, and not felt grateful that they were in my life.

David and I worked together on CHEERS, WINGS, and FRASIER (the latter two he co-created). We used to call him the “dean”. In his quiet way he was the one we always looked to for final approval of a line or a story direction. He brought a warmth and humanity to his writing that hopefully rubbed off on the rest of us “schickmeisters”. And he could be funny – sneaky funny. During long rewrite sessions he tended to be quiet. Maybe two or three times a night he’d pitch a joke – but they were always the funniest jokes of the script.

For those of you hoping to become comedy writers yourselves, let David Angell be your inspiration. Before breaking in he worked in the U.S. Army, the Pentagon, an insurance firm, an engineering company, and then when he finally moved out to L.A. he did “virtually every temp job known to man” for five years. Sometimes even the greatest talents take awhile to be recognized.

I first met David the first season of CHEERS. He came in to pitch some stories. He had been recommended after writing a good NEWHART episode. This shy quiet man who looked more like a quantum physics professor than a comedy writer, slinked into the room, mumbled through his story pitches, and we all thought, “is this the right guy? He sure doesn’t seem funny.” Still, he was given an assignment (“Pick a con…any con”) and when the script came back everyone was just blown away. He was quickly given a second assignment (“Someone single, someone blue”) and that draft came back even better. I think the first order of business for the next season was to hire David Angell on staff.

After 9/11, David’s partners Peter Casey & David Lee called me and my partner into their office. There was a FRASIER script David Angell was about to write. (It was the one where Lilith’s brother arrived in a wheelchair and became an evangelist. Michael Keaton played the part.) Peter & David asked if we would write it and for me that was a greater honor than even winning an Emmy.

David’s wife, Lynn, was also an inspiration. She devoted her life to helping others – tirelessly working on creating a children’s library and a center that serves abused children.

My heart goes out to their families. To all of the families.

I still can’t wrap my mind around it.

So tragic, so senseless, and even twenty years later, so inconceivable.


Mike Barer said...

Thinking of you on this 20th anniversary. A day that none of us will ever forget.

Michael said...

I knew you would post it, and I'm glad you did, and always will.

Stuart said...

You post it every year, I read it every year. And I still tear up every time. I finally had a chance to visit the 9/11 Memorial a few years back, and I made a point of finding their names.

You live as long as you're remembered. Thanks Ken.

Darwin's Ghost said...

It speaks volumes that all surviving presidents (not counting President Carter, who no longer travels because of his age) attended official 9/11 ceremonies except the obese orange fascist. He apparently put out a video that focused on attacking President Biden, and later went to provide commentary on a boxing match.

I knew he'd be completely tasteless, immature and vulgar and he didn't disappoint. His supporters won't mind of course, given they believe Jews were behind 9/11.

tavm said...

Perhaps because it's the 20th anniversary, for the first time I watched the reading of the names of those who had fallen that utterly tragic day on live TV...

Roger Owen Green said...

For possibly the first time, I watched some of the reading of the names. Saw David and Lynn, and thought of your pain.

Necco said...

I have always wanted to discuss that particular episode of "Frasier," my least favorite. But will wait till it comes up again in the future.