Friday, January 14, 2022

Friday Questions

Friday Questions to launch you into the weekend.  What’s yours?

Kyle Burress starts us off.


Are you glad that you didn't have to deal with all of the social media and such that goes on in today's society during your involvement with Mash, Cheers, Jefferson's and Frasier, amongst others? Do you think that would have changed things dramatically in the way things were written or how the cast and crew were dealt with?

If there was social media in those days, here’s how I think it would play out.

THE JEFFERSONS.  The show would get buried because two Jewish guys wrote an episode.  

MASH.  Can you imagine the shitstorm when they killed Henry Blake?   The producers would have gotten death threats.

CHEERS.  I think social media would have helped us.  There would be more buzz, more word-of-mouth.  We wouldn’t be such an underground hit but ratings flop.   

FRASIER.  To some degree there was social media.  Not to today’s extent, but there were chat rooms and fan groups that discussed the episodes.  I would say, in general, that FRASIER was well received across the board. 

The shows might have been written a little differently based on the country’s sensibility, not necessarily pressure from social media.   How different?  I have no way to calculate that or even speculate.  

From jcs:

In your very entertaining podcast episodes 243 and 244 warmup luminary Bob Perlow voices his annoyance about some sitcom actors and producers being unwilling to invest just five minutes to talk to their audience before the taping. Perlow reasons that apart from showing a lack of appreciation, an opportunity to increase the show's fan base was wasted.

Did you experience similar situations in your career where you felt that not enough effort had been made to reach or to accommodate an audience?


I only did warm-up on one show (CHEERS) so Bob had way more experience with this than me.  

But I will say this:  Some actors are really concentrating on their performance — that’s their process — and they don’t want to disturb that by kibitzing with the audience.  As a director, I want my actors to be as comfortable and ready as possible and if chatting with the crowd would get in the way, then I’m all for the actor skipping it.

Might the audience embrace them and the show more had they interacted?  Probably.  It’s definitely to their benefit.  But the performance is the important thing.

blogward asks:


I was just reading about Glynis Johns, the beautiful Welsh actress who is now, at 98, the oldest Best Actress Oscar-winner alive (with Olivia De H gone). I never saw the episode of Cheers with her as Diane's mother, but I wonder if you had anything to share? T
hx.

That was the episode we first tried to get Lucy.  

Ms. Johns was fabulous.  The ultimate pro.  Knew her lines, was kind to everyone on the crew, not at all a diva.   I never got up the nerve to ask her to sing “Send in the Clowns.” Sondheim wrote it specifically for her.  

If you haven’t seen the episode, I very much recommend it.  It was from season one, was called “Someone Single, Someone Blue” and was written by the late David Angell.  

And finally, from Cedricstudio:

I recently got sick and had a froggy voice for almost two whole weeks. Which got me wondering, when an actor gets sick (loses their voice, for example) is it ever just written into the show? In season 11 episode of MASH ("Say No More") the B story is that Margaret's hero is visiting camp and she desperately wants to meet him, but she gets laryngitis and has to enlist Charles' help. I was re-watching it and noticed that she can't talk for practically the entire episode. I don't think I've ever seen the "character loses their voice" plot device used on a TV show before so it got me wondering: Was this something the writers came up with, or did Loretta Swit actually lose her voice forcing the writers to work it into the episode?

Actors getting sick used to be considered such a big crisis.  Now, in the middle of a pandemic, having laryngitis for three days doesn’t seem that big a deal.  

If we can work it in organically then we would.   But especially on a single-camera show like MASH that’s shot out of order, we might just re-arrange the schedule to give the actor a few days off to recover and film his scenes later.

A bigger problem is explaining away why a character suddenly has a broken arm or cast on their wrist that’s not coming off for two months.  Suddenly you have to dream up something to justify it.   Glad we never did a period drama.  Explaining a wrist cast in the Middle Ages might’ve taken some doing. 

65 comments :

Jessica Miller said...

There was a SEINFELD episode where Jerry had a froggy voice. They explain it at the start by saying he did a comedy gig at a rodeo and had to yell (or something like that). Nothing in the plot hinges on it. The episode, "The Maid," was the third-to-last one they ever did (including the series finale), and they may have been unable to reschedule it.

Call Me Mike said...

There are a couple of episodes of The Andy Griffith Show where Sheriff Taylor is sporting a cast on his hand. The character explains that he got it after tusslin' with a couple of rowdy prisoners. In real life, supposedly, Andy got into a fight with a brick wall.

The wall won.

[whistles theme]

Unkystan said...

Just to correct bligward…The wonderful Glynis Johns never won an Oscar. I don’t know how she’s doing but wish her the best. I was actually hoping to see her in a cameo as Mother Banks in “Mary Poppins Returns”

VincentS said...

Regarding the last question: There were a couple of episodes of BARNEY MILLER where Hal Linden had his foot in a cast and the injury was probably real because around the same time he appeared in a LOVE BOAT pilot episode also with his foot in a cast so they wrote into BARNEY MILLER that he his foot slipped in the toilet while trying to screw in a light bulb. There was also a very funny scene where Fish mentions that the foot should itch when it's getting better whereupon Barney crams a hanger down the cast because it starts to itch. Regarding the social media question, I love the FRASIER episode where Frasier invites all the members of his chat room to his place for a party and about four people show up!

Griff said...

"I was just reading about Glynis Johns, the beautiful Welsh actress who is now, at 98, the oldest Best Actress Oscar-winner alive..."

Johns, a wonderful actress, is probably the oldest living Academy Award-nominated performer (for Best Supporting Actress for Zinnemann's 1960 THE SUNDOWNERS), but she never won an Oscar.

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

"Someone Single, Someone Blue" ran this week on Nick at Nite. I hadn't seen the first season of "Cheers" in I don't know how long, and it's been good getting reacquainted with it of late--and I do mean late: Two episodes air each weeknight beginning at 4 a.m. EST.

There were more dramatic moments in that inaugural season than I recalled; "Diane" was a likable, moral voice among the group; and Shelley Long, Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, and Nicholas Colasanto were superb, as was Harry Anderson, who put in several appearances that year.

D. McEwan said...

"Blogward asks:
I was just reading about Glynis Johns, the beautiful Welsh actress who is now, at 98, the oldest Best Actress Oscar-winner alive (with Olivia De H gone)."


I adore Miss Johns, who is the daughter of Mervyn Johns, a good character actor who got killed by a triffid in Day of the Triffids, but I must point out that Glynis Johns never won an Oscar. She was NOMINATED for Best SUPPORTING Actress in 1962 for The Chapman Report, but she did not win. But Julie Andrews won an Oscar for standing near her. BTW, though of Welsh descent, it happens she was born in South Africa. Her parents were on tour there at the time.

Glenn said...

Hey Ken, I heard that when Henry Blake was killed off there was a pretty good blowback from the fans, though maybe not as bad as death threats. I guess back then you had to wait for the letters to come in weeks later, as opposed to one Tweet instantly riling up the whole world.

D. McEwan said...

There's an episode of the original Star Trek TV series titled "Obsession," in which you can clearly hear that Bill Shatner has a nasty cold and a severely stuffed-up nose throughout the entire episode. The guest star that episode was Elinor Donahue, who was a Christian Scientist, so I hope Bill didn't giver her his cold. All she could fight it with was prayer.

Chuck said...

"That was the episode we first tried to get Lucy."

I don't recall this topic ever coming up on this blog. I would be interested to learn what other times you hoped to get Lucy on Cheers. Which characters, what episodes? Who ended up in the roles?

Speaking of Lucy and actors personal ailments being written into a show, apparently Lucy had broken a leg while skiing and that had to be written into numerous episodes of Here's Lucy.

Andy Griffith, it is said, became angry on the set of his show and put his fist through a wall. He had to wear a cast and that had to be written into the show. Cool, calm and collect Sheriff Andy Taylor was involved in an off-screen fight with 3 burly roughnecks. But he still took them in all on his own.

On Doctor Who, star Tom Baker was bitten on the lip by a dog (in a pub!) and that bad injury had to be written into a few episodes. The Doctor whacks his face on his spaceship's (TARDIS) control console.

It would be interesting to read of other such actor incidents that anyone might know of.

Mike Doran said...

When Glynis Johns had her short-lived CBS sitcom in 1963, there was reportedly a move to bring in her father Mervyn Johns as a regular at midseason.
CBS cancelled early, so no go.
What Might Have Been ...

bmfc1 said...

Tom Shales spoiled Henry Blake's death even before we had the term "spoilers". Today, it would have been leaked on Twitter and then the West Coast would be mad that the East Coast spoiled it for them.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Bill Christopher missed out on much of Season 5 of M*A*S*H due to having hepatitis, and when he returned, it was worked into the show by doing an episode where Father Mulcahy had come down with hepatitis.

And let us not forget about Dick York's worsening back problems causing him to start missing a number of episodes of BEWITCHED during its own fifth season: he became so unreliable, the crew would never know if he'd be absent from that week's filming or not, and in many cases, an episode may show Darrin leaving for work during the teaser/cold open, then returning home during the closing tag, while the rest of the episode would simply be about whatever magical shenanigans Samantha and/or other members of her family get into.

Tom Lester missed a number of episodes of GREEN ACRES during Season 3 due to having mono, so Eb's absence was explained by saying he was, apparently, eloping with his sweetheart.

Howard MacNeir had a stroke that kept him away from THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW for quite some time, but he pretty much ended up losing the use of his left arm, so when they brought Floyd the Barber back, we see him almost always just sitting in his barber chair not doing much of anything.

Pat Buttram was horribly injured due to a cannon misfire while filming THE GENE AUTRY SHOW, and although he was missing from the show for several weeks toward the end of Season 1, they never actually explained his absense, rather, they just set Gene up with a few different random other sidekicks for these episodes, including a pre-Gilligan Alan Hale, Jr. and Chill Wills.

And, if THE JEFFERSONS could end get a victim of cancel culture on social media for that very reason, then SANFORD AND SON would probably be ravaged as well, as Jews had pretty much taken over the writing and production staff during the last three seasons. I, personally, never really realized it before, nor did it ever effect my enjoyment of the show, but in hindsight, I do think I can see a bit of a difference that others have noticed: the first three seasons seemed to touch on certain topics more freely (race being one of them, obviously), whereas the last three seasons seem to engage in more typical sitcom hijinx.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Had social media been around during MASH, for certain someone would have revealed the shocking finale of "Abyssinia, Henry" and ruined it for everyone.

Robert Shaw broke his ankle just before filming THE STING and his character walked with a limp. We were left to imagine some violent episode in Lonegan's past, which was very effective.

John Schrank said...

It's still amazing to me that they were able to keep the finale of NEWHART a secret

cd1515 said...

Didn’t Joey on Friends suddenly show up wearing a sling for a few episodes?

Michael said...

The actor injury I always remember is when Matt LeBlanc had to wear a sling on his arm, FRIENDS explained it by having Joey jumping on a bed and falling off off-screen.

Barbara Fox said...

Always happy to read that Glynis Johns is alive and well, as I've loved her since, as a little girl, I first saw "Mary Poppins" - not only did she do a great job with her song, "Sister Suffragette" (which I still know by heart) but, with relatively little screen time or dialogue, she completely sold the idea that even though Mr. Banks was an Edwardian fuddy-duddy, she loved him very much.

I was lucky enough to see her - along with the rest of the original cast - on Broadway in "A Little Night Music," where she really did embody the slightly tarnished glamor of "the one and only Desiree Armfeldt". A couple of years later, a theatre professor of mine was doing a unit on Stephen Sondheim and when he got to "Night Music" talked about "Send in the Clowns" being recorded by Sinatra, Streisand, Judy Collins, etc, but "to my mind, this is the best version of all," and played Glynis Johns from the OBC. (This was before Judi Dench did the role and I'd put her right up there with Ms. Johns!)

Janet said...

He actually got the injury doing a scene in an episode for the show.

Jeff Boice said...

I knew Henry Blake was going to die because I read it in one of those Hollywood gossip columns shortly before the episode aired. I didn't read or hear any other mention so it didn't seem that big a deal (I knew McLean Stevenson was leaving the show). Today the news would hit Twitter within minutes of the scene being filmed.

Danny Thomas Show 1956: Jean Hagen (who played the first wife Margaret) leaves the series. It is decided the in the new season, Danny Williams will be a widower raising two children. Just before filming starts, Danny Thomas breaks his ankle playing basketball. For the first few episodes Thomas is seen either in a wheelchair or on crutches. Early in the first episode, Danny Williams tells the kids to be good because Mom is watching from Heaven. Even though the show never explained how Margaret died, the public decides that it must have been in a car crash.

gottacook said...

D. McEwan: Elinor Donahue (along with Glen Corbett) was the guest star in "Metamorphosis," not "Obsession"; they're both season-2 episodes, but the guest in "Obsession" was some guy named Stephen Brooks as Ensign Garrovick. Maybe one source of confusion is that both episodes feature a nebulous cloudlike creature. Only the one in "Obsession" is malevolent, however.

I don't recall Shatner having an altered voice in "Metamorphosis," but I haven't seen "Obsession" in a while. It's interesting that Donahue's character had an untreatable fatal disease, being that she was a Christian Scientist.

Michael said...

With Margaret's laryngitis, I always think of the fact that it was Charles, of all people, who did her the kindness. I also thought of the episode where George Lindsey was brilliant as a backwoods surgeon who drove BJ and Charles nuts, and together, and the fact that Hawkeye wasn't in the episode much.

I'm reminded of a Jack Benny radio episode where a voice says this is the bus that tours the stars' homes, and they stop outside Don Wilson's, and he does the commercial. Then Dennis Day's, and there's a skit followed by a song. Then Phil Harris's, and so on. At the end, the driver says, "This is the home of Jack Benny," and Benny says his only line: "Driver, this is where I get off." He was the subject of the entire episode but had only one line.

Douglas Trapasso said...

Possible Friday Question - spoiler alert - this one has a long setup:

The vibe I get frequently through your blog is that "stuff" just simply had a higher inherent quality three or four decades ago it doesn't matter the category - music, movies, burgers, etc. Pre-Nixon crap at least -tried- harder to be decent compared to Y2K crap.

I'm in my late fifties now and falling into that same rabbit hole myself, maybe it's inevitable. Can -anything- brand new approach the first time you heard "Born to Run" or saw a production of "Hamlet" or the movie "Citizen Kane"?

Here's the question: Has this -always- been the feeling? Were your elders in the entertainment world when you came up equally dismissive of the generation behind them? And is that tension what ultimately fuels the best art/pop culture going forward?

Joe said...

I think the unluckiest of actors missing episodes must be the guy who played Chuck Cunningham on "Happy Days". Poor guy said goodnight to Marion and Howard, went upstairs to bed and never came back down. It's been 47 years. Somebody do a welfare check on this guy.

DBenson said...

Recalling how one season Cheers shot the season finale early so they could work around Shelly Long's pregnancy. Tragically, Nicholas Colasanto died and they had to keep the Coach character alive offscreen until the finale ran.

Tangental question: Did Cheers ever consider bringing back Coach's daughter? Or for that matter, Rebecca's actress sister and/or Sam's brother? Trying to remember if they were ever even referenced after their appearances.

Malcolm Burns said...

Mr. Trapasso,

Interesting question. I think if you're a 20 year old interested in films Citizen Kane still holds up, if you like music Born To Run would as well. Same with Hamlet if you are trying to sleep with your English teacher.

Chris said...

Perhaps the commenter meant that Glynis Johns was the oldest surviving Tony-award winner? She was named Best Actress in a Musical for "A Little Night Music" and gave the best performance by anyone who ever sang a song written by Sondheim with her rendition of "Send in the Clowns."

JessyS said...

@ John Schrank

Not to mention the finales of Cheers and Seinfeld. As it turned out, the former was borderline too long while the latter was during some bad press due to Kramer burning a Puerto Rican flag the previous week. Meanwhile, the Seinfeld series finale was horribly received. I liked it personally, but it is likely because most people expected Jerry and Elaine to get married. Also, the Good Samaritan law didn't make any sense because there is no way in hell that any bystanders should be expected to help a victim while a crime is taking place outside of attempted murder.

There is an episode of Married with Children where Ed O'Neill had a cold. It was during season 7's "Tis Time to Smell the Roses" where the cold is explained as Al having a cold and needing to sleep in the garage for three days. It is the episode where Al takes early retirement to the tune of $12,000 only for Peggy to spend it all.

As for social media, I think The Jeffersons, MASH, and Cheers would have benefited greatly. The Jeffersons fanbase would have been so angry at the show's 1985 cancellation that NBC or ABC would have picked up the series for a 12th season. MASH would have been bigger than it was as would Cheers complete with Harry Anderson maybe becoming a series regular in season two.

Bob Waldman said...

Just before shooting began on the 4th season of Make Room for Daddy, Danny Thomas broke his leg and was in a wheelchair.Jean Hagen, who played Danny’s wife also announced she was quitting the show. Sheldon Leonard who was producing and directing the show said, “Okay, so Danny’s now a widower who broke his lag.” To take care of Danny, they brought in Marjorie Lord as his nurse who he would fall in love with by the end of the season. When the show moved to CBS the following season, she was his wife.

Jahn Ghalt said...

Oblique reference to Glynis Johns in Jackson's Get Back Lennon teasing Glyn Johns - calling him 'Glynis'.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Also on TOS was the episode, "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" with guest star, Diana Muldaur. Spock sounds very nasal throughout. That would've been hard to explain since most of today's afflictions such as colds had been eliminated by then.

M.B.

ReticentRabbit said...

FQ: Ken, what character traits do you think have made you and David a good writing team? In what ways are you similar (and it was key to see eye-to-eye), and in what ways do your differences complement each other well?

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

I am now trying to imagine Lucille Ball on the set of Cheers, and delivering such lines as "Your almost as attractive as Diane says you think you are" or "Boggs, I've only tolerated your familiarity over the years because I feared class warfare!" And as I type, I'm wondering how much of that script you (all) wrote for Ms Johns, and how much you would have re-written for Lucy. I'm picturing a big bug-eyed mug right at the camera when Coach explains his nickname was Read because he read a book once. (Yeah, I really like that episode).

Lucy and Carla could have had some fun exchanges, I bet.

Boggs was seen again. Mrs Chambers was never going to let Diane's doctors see her in person. And she couldn't write, because then they'd see her handwriting.

Liggie said...

-- I saw a sample opening of Don Rickles' eponymous late-'60s sitcom on YouTube. As the title and cast credits appear, the shot moves from Rickles bantering with the audience to the rest of the cast and crew setting up for the first scene. Rickles then joins the rest of the cast on the set and gets into character as the director prepares for the first take.

-- As the audience for the "Everybody Loves Raymond" finale shooting was in their seats, the showrunners realized they had to postpone shooting because Patricia Heaton came down with laryngitis. To take care of the crestfallen audience members, Ray Romano came out and performed several minutes of impromptu standup. The rest of the cast came out to take bows, including an apologetic Heaton.

-- "It's Garry Shandling's Show", which broke the fourth wall, didn't have to worry about a plot contrivance because of an actor injury. At the end of Garry's opening monologue, he said, "By the way, Scott Nimes, who plays Grant Shumacher, broke his leg recently, so that's why you'll see him with crutches and a cast. Okay, let's start the show!" The character's hobbling around the set with crutches while performing in that episode wasn't mentioned in the story, and the other actors performed the scene as usual.

Cap'n Bob said...

Ken, you never did answer the question about Swit.

Mike Bloodworth, in one episode Dr. McCoy says of an alien potion, "Who Knows? Maybe it'll cure the common cold." I thought that was a brilliant line.

Liggie said...

@Joe: Years ago they had a "Happy Days" reunion, on a recreation of Arnold's Drive-In and with a studio audience. Surrounded by virtually the entire cast, Garry Marshall said that there was an older Cunningham brother, Chuck, and whatever happened to him? "Actually, there were two actors who played Chuck ... and here they are!" The two men then walked onstage and said, "Hi, Mom!" to an astonished Marion Ross. The audience cheered as Ross leapt from her chair and embraced the two Chucks like, well, long-lost relatives.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Buttermilk Sky: Not necessarily. THE GOOD WIFE managed to keep Will's death a secret. And MAD MEN never had any problem keeping its upcoming plot under wraps.

wg

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

And let us not forget about Dick York's worsening back problems causing him to start missing a number of episodes of BEWITCHED during its own fifth season: he became so unreliable, the crew would never know if he'd be absent from that week's filming or not, and in many cases, an episode may show Darrin leaving for work during the teaser/cold open, then returning home during the closing tag, while the rest of the episode would simply be about whatever magical shenanigans Samantha and/or other members of her family get into.

I remember a few episodes where Larry played the Larry role and the Darrin role, hanging around the house, for some reason, trying to get Sam to get ready to meet the big client, for some reason, while Aunt Clara had conjured up Napoleon or Ben Franklin or a flesh-eating giant dodo bird, for some reason, while Darrin was in Chicago, to meet another big client. That at least made sense.

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

Saw this on a retrospective about Jackie Gleason. Once, Gleason fell and broke his leg during a live telecast of his variety show, and Art Carney had to do the goodnights in his place.

After the show, two women showed up at the hospital. One was Gleason's wife...and the other wasn't.

Sue T. said...

For hundreds of thousands of American viewers, People Magazine wrecked the shock of Henry Blake's death on MASH by casually noting it in an article about McClean Stevenson that ran the week before the episode aired.

Darwin's Ghost said...

Glynis Johns was also lots of fun as a put-upon housewife in the 70s anthology horror movie The Vault of Horror.

Friday question
Sarah Silverman has called the casting of the non-Jewish Kathryn Hahn in the role of Joan Rivers a case of "Jewface." A similar accusation has been made about the non-Jewish Helen Mirren playing Golda Meir. What's your view on the topic? Should only Jewish actors play real life Jews in biopics?

Brian said...

Friday question: What did you think of the show "Hello Larry"? I don't remember it being as bad as some reviews I found online about it. Do you consider it a failure?

Johnny Walker said...

I don't understand, you seem to be producing MORE things as you're getting older... what's your secret?!

Edward said...

Imagine MASH in 2022 having Klinger dressing up as a woman to try and get a Section 8 discharge. The idea of Klinger behaving like that would trigger the Twitter Lynch Mob.

"CBS, Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart are having a laugh at the expense of a 'marginalized group."

CBS would crumble in 15 seconds. No more Klinger.

"Spearchucker Jones" would probably get the show and its producers cancelled.

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

One of those two actors who played "Chuck," Gavan O'Herlihy, died last Sept. 15 in England. He was 70.

BGVA said...

While taping the first episode of WKRP Richard Sanders injured himself on a light bulb, and wore a bandage during the episode. From that point on, Sanders wore a bandage in every episode, with the location changing every time.

As for keeping secrets, they could always shoot multiple outcomes so nothing gets leaked.

gottacook said...

Cap'n Bob: Sorry, but I don't think there ever was an episode with that line. There is a similar McCoy line, in the cheesy "The Omega Glory" (season 2), but it's not about any drink; here it is in context:
KIRK: Then we can leave any time we want to. Tracey is of the opinion these immunizing agents can become a fountain of youth. There are people here over a thousand years old, Bones.
McCOY: Survival of the fittest, because their ancestors who survived had to have a superior resistance. Then they built up these powerful protective antibodies in the blood during the wars. Now, if you want to destroy a civilization or a whole world, your descendants might develop a longer life, but I hardly think it's worth it.
KIRK: Then anything you develop here as a result of all this is useless.
McCOY: Who knows? It might eventually cure the common cold, but lengthen lives? Poppycock. I can do more for you if you just eat right and exercise regularly.
[credit: The Star Trek Transcripts site]

Curt Alliaume said...

For game shows that tape five episodes in a day, having a performer under the weather can be amusing. The Bill Cullen Archive notes Cullen had the hiccups during a To Tell the Truth taping session--but to loyal viewers, it seemed like he had the hiccups for a full week. He received plenty of sympathy and remedy letters as a result.

https://www.billcullen.net/to-tell-the-truth

D. McEwan said...

"Anonymous gottacook said...
I don't recall Shatner having an altered voice in "Metamorphosis," but I haven't seen "Obsession" in a while. It's interesting that Donahue's character had an untreatable fatal disease, being that she was a Christian Scientist."


That irony was not lost on me when it was originally broadcast. My Christian Science mother always threw the names of all famous Christian scientists at me, telling me that I should be like them. Made me hate them. I mean lovely, charming Alan Young, who could dislike him? Someone who had his religion thrown in their face one's entire life, being told to be more like him. (Mind you, Mother would have a cow if I brought up, say, Jean Harlow's Christian Science mother, whose religion killed Jean Harlow. Or mentioning alcoholic-heavy smoker Joan Crawford publicly claiming to be a Christian Scientist - "She wasn't a real Christian Scientist," said Mother. And she wouldn't let Mark Twain books in the house because he wrote that HILARIOUS book about Mary Baker Eddy, which, when I read it, made me laugh for weeks.)

Ya caught me. While I've seen every episode of Star Trek numerous times each, I haven't looked at an episode in 30 years. Anyway, it's the one with Donahue where Shatner has a cold.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Another Bewitched episode to work around Dick York's absence was the "Dangerous Diaper Dan," in which Endora seems to fill in for both Darrin and Larry, "partnering" with Samantha on an ad campaign, and later enjoying benevolent mischief as she and her daughter thwart the rival agency spy played by Marty Ingels.

I love the part when Sam smashes the rigged baby rattle and says, "Mother, there it is! There's the bug!" I also loved when Elizabeth Montgomery would say to viewers, "Stay tuned for Ba-witched, next, in ca-lah."

The following season, the Screen Gems paint shop must have used the leftover paint for Diaper Dan's van for The Flying Nun's station wagon.

Spike de Beauvoir said...

Glynis John's was a delight in some of her early British movies: as a mermaid in Miranda and its sequel Mad About Men (with Margaret Rutherford), Vacation From Marriage (with Robert Donat and Deborah Kerr), and The Promoter (with Alec Guinness).

Philly Cinephile said...

Glynis Johns is one of five surviving "Special Guest Villains" from the BATMAN TV series, the other four being Joan Collins, Julie Newmar, John Astin, and Barbara Rush.

And, yes, I know Lee Meriwether is still with us, but she played Catwoman in the 1966 film. I'm referring specifically to the villains on the TV series. (Not mentioning LM tends to anger some BATMAN fans, hence my disclaimer.)

As for Cedricstudio's question about accommodating an actor's illness, by sheer coincidence*, last night Decades TV aired an episode of CHEERS in which Kelsey Grammer sounded rather hoarse. In the episode, Sam notices this and Frasier explains that he had been yelling at a patient.

*Unless Ken knew that episode was airing and purposely included the question to coincide with the broadcast...

Michael said...

I just saw a CHEERS clip from season 5 on YouTube where Woody tells a drawn out story to Frasier about how he broke his thumb to explain why his arm and hand were in soft cast. Found mentions online that It was necessary because Woody Harrelson broke his arm while car racing.

ScarletNumber said...

While others have noted that Glynis Johns never won an Oscar, the actual oldest currently-living Oscar-winning actor/actress is Eva Marie Saint at 97, who won for On The Waterfront in 1955.

maxdebryn said...

Friday question: was there ever thought of a TV version of VOLUNTEERS ? It seems like there were quite a few pilots that were based upon movies: I can recall Fargo (with Edie Falco, pre-Sopranos), Gung Ho (pre-Quantum Leap Scott Bakula), even Diner (the pilot was pretty good, as I recall).

John Everett said...

Friday Question:

Ken, have you watched The Righteous Gemstones on HBO? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts. I was trying to explain my issues with the show to a friend but I had trouble articulating them. It's basically just that Goodman and Walton Goggins are taking their characters seriously, while it feels like the trio of siblings, Danny McBride, Adam Devine, and Edi Patterson, are just being as ridiculous as they want. Even when they're doing something funny, it never lands for me because their unreality takes me out of the scene.

D. McEwan said...

On the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series, there's an episode, "The Mazarin Stone," where Jeremy Brett's failing health made it impossible for him to shoot it, so Charles Gray, who had played Mycroft Holmes in the two stories in which he appears, was trotted out to solve the case instead of Sherlock, though Mycroft is not in the original story.

And there was a period of Perry Mason where heath concerns kept Raymond Burr off the show, so a succession of guest stars played defense attorneys, including Hugh O' Brian, Michael Rennie, and Bette Davis. And, when William Talman was off the show for a while because of a pot bust (How silly the early 1960s were), there was a succession of guest DAs, including Kenneth Tobey and HM Wynant.

blogward said...

Thanks for your response Ken, and thanks everyone for your corrections(!)

I suppose the ultimate 'lost voice' actor would be English star Jack Hawkins, whose larynx was removed in 1966 aged 56 (smoked 60 a day), but who continued to make major features for several years. His voice was dubbed by Robert Rietti or Charles Gray, and he used a hand-held voice amplifier in private. Don't smoke, kids!

Wendy M. Grossman said...

There was plenty of social media before today's Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc, it just wasn't mainstream. In the 1980s and early 1990s it was Usenet, IRC channels, CompuServe, AOL, Delphi, Prodigy, and thousands of bulletin boards run on home computers. The BUFFY writers were notorious for reading fan boards. Larry Gelbart hung out on Usenet. Roger Ebert had a section of a CompuServe forum where he chatted and answered questions. FRASIER and FRIENDS had IRC channels. I think it was FRASIER that had some writers hanging out on Usenet on the clear understanding that no one was allowed to show them story ideas.

1990s also had Television without Pity, which hatched dozens of talented critics and recappers, and where Aaron Sorkin so disliked the criticism he found that he wrote the WEST WING episode "The U.S. Poet Laureate" (S3d17) in response. (TWoP founders discuss the experience on the West Wing Weekly podcast for that episode.)

The response was slower then, though! It's really mobile phone speed that's the problem.

wg

Mark said...

I can’t imagine Lucille Ball playing Diane’s mother. It would have taken me out of the show. And Ball, by that time in her career, had little inflection in her voice and was reading off cue cards because she couldn’t remember her lines. Glynis Johns was the right choice.

Glynis Johns actually worked for Lucille Ball in the 1960s; her sitcom mentioned above was a Desilu production, and produced by Jess Oppenheimer, the original showrunner and head writer for I Love Lucy.

Re: Rebecca Howe’s sister on Cheers. I read that Joan Severance was originally cast as Susan Howe, who was going to be recurring, and that Sam was going to marry her. But they called off that storyline and cast Marcia Cross in the role when it was changed to a one-off.

Brian said...


Friday question: Have you ever met Weird Al? There's going to be a movie about his life (written by Al himself) staring Daniel Radcliffe, on the Roku channel. Any thoughts on his craft?

Fed by the muse said...

Friday Question, Ken: Why do you suppose some actors, especially comedic actors. are typecast after a big success while others are able to have long, rewarding careers, some even managing very successful transitions (from comedy to drama). In the latter instance I was thinking of someone like the late Richard Crenna, who's first claim to fame was playing (for a number of years) the geeky high school student Walter Denton on "Our Miss Brooks" (first on radio, then also on TV) yet managed to have a successful career in drama ("Slattery's People," "The Rape of Richard Beck," "First Blood"). Of course, one could also cite Roddy McDowell, Jessica Lange and Tom Hanks, but, with so identifiable character as Walter Denton, Crenna's transition, in particular, seems, to me, exceptional.

Fed by the muse said...

A follow-up observation, Ken: It's ironic that while Richard Crenna was able to perform both serious/comedic roles after his turn on OMB, Robert Rockwell, the actor who played Miss Brooks love interest Phillip Boynton on the TV series (and who was also seen as the grandfather in the long-running Werther's Original candy commercials), according to his imdB biography, had a difficult time being considered for anything other than similar "nice guy" roles after OMB (interestingly, a problem the actor playing OB in the radio version, Jeff Chandler, did NOT have).

Have to wonder how people such as Don Adams, Bob Crane (who I personally feel could have made a fine dramatic actor), Adam West, Bob Denver would have been in serious roles given the chance. Today, would, say, Jim Parsons (brilliant in the BBT) be given the chance to star in a drama or does the scourge of the typecast persist?

D. McEwan said...

"Fed by the muse said...
A follow-up observation, Ken: It's ironic that while Richard Crenna was able to perform both serious/comedic roles after his turn on OMB, Robert Rockwell, the actor who played Miss Brooks love interest Phillip Boynton on the TV series (and who was also seen as the grandfather in the long-running Werther's Original candy commercials), according to his imdB biography, had a difficult time being considered for anything other than similar "nice guy" roles after OMB."


Well, he played Jor-El, Superman's father, on the first episode of The Adventures of Superman with George Reeves. That was a dramatic role. He had to warn the foolish politicians and scientists of Krypton that their planet was about to explode, and when they refused to listen ("The FOOLS!), he had to make the agonizing decision to send his baby son into space while he and his wife faced death together. It's not easy to be very dramatic in very silly costumes. Oh, and Jor-El's house on Krypton was the Griffith Park Observatory. (Rockwell is also in an episode of Dallas, but just as a minister performing Lucy Ewing's wedding.)

"Today, would, say, Jim Parsons (brilliant in the BBT) be given the chance to star in a drama or does the scourge of the typecast persist?"

Jim Parsons just starred in the Broadway revival and subsequent movie remake of The Boys in the Band. You can see the film (It's very good) on Netflix, and it's very dramatic.

Bob Uecker Is A National Treasure said...

Odd question that occurred to me: every Cheers main cast member recorded the "Cheers is filmed before a live studio audience" voiceover that began each episode. Was there any rhyme or reason for why a particular recording was used for a particular episode ("This ep is light on Cliff scenes, let's use John's voiceover")?