Friday, May 06, 2022

Friday Questions

I’m flying across the country so it might take some time to post your comments today.  But I will get to them in 3,000 miles.  Here are this week’s Friday Questions.

Andy Laitman is up first.

Have you ever met or worked with Mel Brooks? The Producers, Blazing Saddles & Young Frankenstein are 3 of the funniest movies ever made. There are occasionally rumors of a History Of The World (Part Deux), but I doubt he could write-produce-direct-star in another movie at his age.

I’ve met him; never worked with him.  When I was on MASH in the late ‘70s at 20th Century Fox he was there too.  He was good friends with one of our staff writers, Ronny Graham and often would come up to the office and hang out with us at the end of the day.  

I don’t have to tell you it was fantastic and he was hilarious.  I often pinch myself at my good fortune.  

As for whether he could write/produce/direct at his age.  Never underestimate him.  He could still do all that and write songs too.  He’s a wonder.

Brian Phillips asks:

What child actors have you worked with that have given consistently good performances?

The Sweeten kids on EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND.  All three of them.  Madylin and the twins, Sullivan and Sawyer.  

And Tylen Jacob Williams on INSTANT MOM.  This kid has AMAZING comic timing, better than 90% of adult actors. 

Mark wonders:

I think you've mentioned in the past you've worked in writer's rooms that has a non-writing typist.

Since that person isn't getting writing credit, or in the writing union, if they make a joke that's worth using can you use it?

Yes.  And in some cases showrunners take unfair advantage of that.  If they permit the writers’ assistant to pitch (many shows don’t) and use some of their material they really should give them a script assignment at some point in the season as a reward.  

A number of showrunners I know do do that and are real mensches, but a few don’t.  And they’re usually shocked when the writers’ assistant quits to work somewhere else.  

And finally, from JS:

I had to babysit a bunch of kids (don't even ask) - we ended up watching "Clifford the Big Red Dog". It wasn't bad - they were into it. What kid's movie do you think hold's up?

I don’t think it’s a matter of “holding up,” it’s just that kids outgrow movies and move on.  Last year my granddaughter, Becca was totally into FROZEN.  Now it’s ENCANTO.  Hopefully in a year it’ll be VOLUNTEERS.  

But I would say most of the great Disney animated movies hold up.  LION KING and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST will be around for a hundred years.  Same with the TOY STORY franchise and the original MARY POPPINS.  I personally can’t stand the original MARY POPPINS but I’m not 5.

What’s your Friday Question?  


ScarletNumber said...

> Tylen Jacob Williams on INSTANT MOM

I thought this was a typo, but I was thinking of his brother, who played Chris Rock on Everybody Hates Chris.

Speaking of Instant Mom, both Annie Potts and Mckenna Grace would appear from time to time. They are both on Young Sheldon now, but I don't recall them having any scenes together. I think Mckenna is fantastic on the show, and my only worry is that her career has grown too large for her occasional appearances on Young Sheldon.

N. Zakharenko said...

Mary Poppins won 5 Academy Awards in 1965, and was nominated for another 8 Oscars -

So most of the members of the Academy that year were 5 years old?

I'll now let you get back to watching big boy movies like Porky's.

N. Zakharenko said...

Mary Poppins won 5 Academy Awards in 1965, and was nominated for another 8 Oscars -

So most of the members of the Academy that year were 5 years old?

I'll now let you get back to watching big boy movies like Porky's.

Rashad Khan said...

"I personally can’t stand the original MARY POPPINS but I’m not 5."

I couldn't stand the original "Mary Poppins" when I WAS five.

Gerald said...

"There are occasionally rumors of a History Of The World (Part Deux)..."

It is literally filming in L.A. right now.

(Note: not a comment on whether it *should* be or not.)

Brent Alles said...

"History of the World Part 2" is apparently a go, after all these years, and Mel is going to write and executive producer! He truly is a wonder, but we all knew that already. :)

Gary Crant said...

Oh man, please could Mel Brooks make at least one more classic comedy? It could be like the last season of FRASIER, surprisingly stunning.

ventucky said...

My parents took my 3 older siblings to see Mary Poppins when it came out. I stayed home because they thought I was too young, 3, but my sister was only 4. By the time it came out on video I was an adult. People can not believe I have never seen it, but even as a kid, I was not into musicals. So even with Disney plus, I have not seen it. (I only have Disney plus to watch Get Back. leaching off my sons account)

David Riche said...

Funny thing about your Mary Poppins 5 year old comment. That was the first movie I saw in a theater and I was 5. I was excited because Dick Van Dyke was in it. (My older siblings always had the TV on so I became familiar with all the greats throughout my childhood.) But the movie was creepy compared with The Dick Van Dyke Show. He seemed so normal, friendly and funny on TV. It ruined the movie for me. As Dick Van Dyke played on reruns, it became my favorite show. And I had no urge to see any Disney or "kids" movies after that.

Anonymous said...

Greatest actors/singers/dancers combined
1. Judy Garland
2. Julie Andrews
3. Ginger Rogers
4 Liza Minelli (two from same family)
5. Frank Sinatra/Jimmy Cagney (tie)

Nevin ":-)" said...

Not only is History of the World Part 2 apparently a go, they are actually filming...

YEKIMI said...

Asides from Dick Van Dyke's atrocious British accent, I like Mary Poppins to this day. I don't know, just takes me back to a happier, more carefree time when body parts didn't hurt as much. Nowadays I just have this dark fantasy that when Mary Poppins wasn't working as a nanny she was off making X-rated films with Burt and the rest of the chimney sweeps.

sanford said...

My four year old grandson just watched Toy Story. He checked to see if his toys, mostly dinosaurs and sharks could move.

Paxton Q said...

"I personally can’t stand the original MARY POPPINS but I’m not 5."

It takes courage to say you hate a beloved motion picture. I don't hate "Mary Poppins," but I haven't seen it in 57 years, so who knows?

I can raise you one better, though: "The Sound of Music." I saw it once on its roadshow release when I was 12 and once was enough. What an abominable load of treacle! I've caught a few minutes on TV here and there over the years and it still makes me want to toss my strudel.

Yet I'm firmly in the minority, and I've found I have to keep my opinion secret lest I find myself besieged by fans singing "The Lonely Goatherd." The good thing is that my wife of 48 years hates it as much, or more, than I do. It was one of the things that attracted me to her way back in college.

Brian said...

I never liked Mary Poppins much, but I did like the move "Saving Mr. Banks". Even more so when my daughter's high school class did Mary Poppins as their senior play.

Dick Van Dyke's accent said...

'ello everybody! I'm a chimernee sweeper, cor blimey!

Lemuel said...

Christopher Plummer famously said it should have been called "The Sound of Mucous." Heather Menzies went on to join Jack Webb's roster of Hippie Girls along with Jill Banner, Luana Anders and Brenda Scott.

Leighton said...

I'm not jumping on this weird bandwagon. "Mary Poppins" is an excellent film. So is "The Sound of Music." I have no f-ing need to apologize for loving them. Julie Andrews is brilliant in both. I'm not commenting on Ken's original comment...just the need to come in here and make snarky "pile-ons."

Robert Wise was an EXCELLENT editor/director. I met him at USC, and he was so kind, and truly interested in us, as film school students.

I am 60. Those two films introduced my generation to the cinematic world. I was THREE when my parents took me to "The Sound of Music." I sat through the entire damn film, mesmerized. I've watched it dozens of times as an adult, and am equally amazed. I remember a screening at Tulane University in 1982 (at the time, their films series included "Debbie Does Dallas" and "Insatiable"). The student crowd LOVED it.

Leighton said...

Another Robert Wise classic? "The Haunting" Novelist Shirley Jackson is an American treasure. Wise created a wonderful film. Unfortunately, we endured the 1999 version, and that ridiculous Netflix adaptation.

He also was responsible for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." It's worth your time, viewing the Director's Cut.

"Executive Suite" is another favorite.

ALL I can say, is that this ICON of the industry, showed so much interest, in film students during the 80s. Just sitting there, as a 25 year-old, and TALKING to him, about his movies - unforgettable.

A truly wonderful person.

Max said...

I'd bet that if Mel Brooks knew that people thought he didn't have it in him to write/ direct/ produce another film "at his age," that'd spur him to do it.

Roseann said...

I did have the opportunity to work a shooting day with Mel Brooks. And not only that but it was on the New York episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Ann Bancroft was acting it it, too. I had worked with Ann before and she was glad to see me so therefore Mel was very gracious. The highlight of my day was when Larry was walking back to his dressing room and patted me on my shoulder - surely a sign of approval. Best day ever.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Oh Ken, Ken, Ken.

There’s still a five-year-old inside all of us. How it manifests can be seen on social media, in the daily news, and in how people sometimes treat one another. It’s also in how we can still find wonder and fun in even the most ordinary and everyday things and people around us.

I adore you, as well as I will continue to be enchanted by The Flying Nun.

Here are some fun facts. There would be no Walt Disney World Resort without Mary Poppins. It paid for the land. Disney created a company called MAPO to build the resort with the box office receipts.

It revitalized every division of Disney because it was easily synergized into every possible unit. No division benefitted more than the Disney Music Group, which would not exist at all without it. They were going to release the soundtrack on another major label(who were clamoring for it) but the president of the in-house Buena Vista Records proved they could market it, as well as help campaign for the best song Oscar (which it won). It became one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time and has been inducted into the National Recording Academy Hall of Fame. (RCA did release a record club version.)

Lots of people love the movie, regardless of age. Lots of people don't like it. Many people I love dearly don't like everything I like. Long as they’re kind about it, that’s fine.

I can enjoy a Fellini film, a Mel Brooks film, a Smurf cartoon, a Flintstones episode, a few Cheers, an I Dream of Jeannie, a few Brady Bunches, a Bugaloos, a Rosellini, a Hitchcock, an Outer Limits, a Frasier, and a Scooby-Doo, then listen to The Beatles, The Archies, The Banana Splits and Mozart. That's me. I don't begrudge those who like or don't like what I like.

I figure that the more joy you can seek out in this often joyless world, the better. It’s an ongoing struggle.

Sam Thursday said...

I'm an old boomer (62 years), and I have never seen Mary Poppins. That said, I adored Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Kyle Burress said...

What moments, if any, in television have made you cry or at least made an impact on you?

Kirk said...

Love Mary Poppins. And I saw it for the first time as an adult!

Ray said...

Ronny is mentioned prominently in Mel's recent memoir; my only kvetch about that book is that it doesn't have an index, but I know he was involved in writing HOTW1 with him. My first sighting of him was as "Mister Dirt" in a series of 70s Mobil commercials, sticking his head out of the engine block scared of the fightin' fortyweight coming to get him. I don't know how I knew who he was by name after that, but when his name started showing up in MASH credits (for writing- only once onscreen if IMDB has it right), I felt I'd found an old, if slightly dirty, friend in their midst.

Anonymous said...

Friday question: Do ALL actors have to attend a table read for an episode, even if they only have one line? For example, the waiters in the coffee house on Frasier. Or if - say - Gil (Edward Hibbert), or some another recurring actor, has maybe two lines?

Dave Lennon said...

Hey Ken. Have you seen the Television Extras commemorative stamps? Cheers has one. Do you have any memories of Arlene Sparger?